Final, Red Sox 4-2: Koji Uehara struck out the side in the ninth inning, and the Red Sox have taken the series opener.
The Red Sox jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Brock Holt delivered a two-run single into left field. A’s starter Jarrod Parker settled down, though, and Oakland eventually tied the game in the sixth inning when Jed Lowrie hammered a solo blast into the right field seats.
Dustin Pedroia then showed why he’s the heart and soul of the Red Sox. Pedroia, who made a fantastic play to save a run in the fifth inning, delivered a two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning to give Boston a 4-2 lead.
Andrew Bailey pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Uehara picked up his eighth save with a perfect ninth, but John Lackey gave the Red Sox another excellent start. Lackey gave up just two runs on three hits over seven innings. He did walk four, but he struck out five and remained in control despite the free passes.
The Red Sox have won four straight, and they now have 58 wins, which is the most wins before the All-Star break in franchise history. That goes to show how special this season has been thus far.
The Red Sox and Athletics will do it again Saturday. The first pitch is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET, and Jon Lester will take the ball for Boston.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 4-2: The Red Sox are now 0-for-2 this season on safety squeeze attempts.
Mike Napoli led off the ninth inning with a rare triple. Yoenis Cespedes raced back and leaped up against the wall, but he couldn’t make the play. The ball, which plunked off the wall, appeared to hit just to the left of his glove.
Jackie Bradley Jr. pinch ran for Napoli, and Daniel Nava bounced over the mound. If Bradley left on contact, he probably would have made it safely. Instead, he remained at third base while Nava was retired at first.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked, and John Farrell then called for the safety squeeze with Jose Iglesias batting. Iglesias dropped down a bunt, and Bradley, after reading it, darted for home. First baseman Brandon Moss fielded it and fired home to complete the out.
Brock Holt grounded out to end the inning, and Koji Uehara will now enter with a two-run lead.
End 8th, Red Sox 4-2: Andrew Bailey wasn’t perfect, but he got the job done. The Red Sox will carry a two-run lead into the ninth inning.
Bailey walked John Jaso to begin the eighth. A few outings ago, that might have sent Bailey’s night into a tailspin. Not this time.
Bailey left a hanger to Josh Donaldson, which was almost costly, but he survived. Donaldson got under it, and Daniel Nava was able to corral the fly ball in deep left field.
Bailey finished the inning with back-to-back strikeouts. Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes both went down swinging on fastballs.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-2: Dustin Pedroia continues to be the Red Sox’ heart and soul.
Pedroia, who made a fantastic play to start up a rally-killing double play back in the fifth inning, recaptured the lead for Boston in the eighth.
Jose Iglesias started the frame by singling off the new pitcher, Sean Doolittle. It was the Red Sox’ first hit since the second inning, as starter Jarrod Parker retired 16 in a row before exiting.
Brock Holt, who knocked in Boston’s first two runs, then dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Iglesias into scoring position.
Jacoby Ellsbury’s groundout moved Iglesias up another 90 feet to third base, and Doolittle hit Shane Victorino on the fingers. That prompted Bob Melvin to make a pitching change. The A’s skipper called upon Ryan Cook.
Victorino stole second base after Cook entered, and Pedroia drove in both Iglesias and Victorino with a two-run single into left field.
David Ortiz struck out looking on a pitch that he thought was inside, but the damage was done. The Red Sox have gotten to the A’s bullpen, and John Lackey is now in line for a win.
Andrew Bailey will pitch the eighth inning for Boston. It will be a huge test for Bailey, who has pitched well of late but is still looking to get back on track.
End 7th, 2-2: John Lackey settled down for a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
Both pitchers have pitched well. Jarrod Parker has retired 16 straight, and Lackey has been solid beyond a couple of brief hiccups, most notably Jed Lowrie’s sixth-inning homer.
Seth Smith, who doubled in his last at-bat, grounded out for the first out of the seventh, and Eric Sogard flied out to left for out No. 2.
Coco Crisp hit a grounder to first base with two down. Mike Napoli made the play and flipped to Lackey, who was covering the first base bag, for the inning’s final out.
It looks like the A’s will make a pitching change before the eighth inning. Left-hander Sean Doolittle will take over, and you can bet that the Red Sox are glad to see Parker come out of this game.
Mid 7th, 2-2: Make it 16 in a row for Jarrod Parker.
Parker again retired the side in order, and he’s absolutely cruising right now.
Parker struck out Mike Napoli to begin the seventh. Daniel Nava then grounded out, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia flied out.
The Oakland offense will come up in the seventh having scored in two straight innings. We’ll see if John Lackey can settle back down.
End 6th, 2-2: John Lackey made a mistake, and Jed Lowrie made him pay.
Lackey left an off-speed pitch middle in, and Lowrie jumped all over it. Lowrie, who has always featured somewhat of an uppercut swing, hammered his seventh home run of the season into the seats in right field. We’re all tied at two apiece.
Lackey retired the next three hitters — Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick — on groundouts, including two to Brock Holt, who was shifted over to the right side. But we’ve got ourselves a whole new game.
Making matters worse for Boston is that Jarrod Parker has really settled in over the last four innings.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-1: Jarrod Parker is wheeling and dealing right now. He has retired 13 straight.
Shane Victorino popped out to second base, and Dustin Pedroia flied out to right field to begin the sixth inning.
David Ortiz hit a sharp comebacker with the shift on, and the ball ricocheted off Parker’s glove. Shortstop Jed Lowrie managed to run over, scoop it and toss to first in time to record the out, though, and we’ll now see if the A’s can get something going again offensively.
End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Dustin Pedroia is having a sensational season at the dish, but his glove work has been equally as impressive.
Pedroia is the reason that the Red Sox still hold a one-run lead, as the A’s threatened for more after getting on the scoreboard in the fifth inning.
Seth Smith began the inning with a double off the left-field wall. Initially, it looked like it had a chance, but it wasn’t hit high enough to carry out of the yard. Smith’s double was Oakland’s first hit of the game.
John Lackey then walked Coco Crisp two batters later, giving the right-hander a season-high four walks. John Jaso followed with a base hit into right field. Smith scored, and Crisp advanced to third base as Shane Victorino bobbled the ball.
Josh Donaldson then hit a hot shot up the middle. Pedroia, who was moving to his right, picked the sharp ground ball while crashing to the ground. He flipped to second base to start up an inning-ending, rally-killing double play. Very impressive.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-0: Jarrod Parker has now retired 10 in a row after a shaky second inning.
Jose Iglesias, Brock Holt and Jacoby Ellsbury were disposed of in the fifth inning, and Parker needed just nine pitches.
Iglesias grounded out to third base, and Holt and Ellsbury both flied out to Yoenis Cespedes in left field.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-0: John Lackey allowed a couple of hitters to reach, but he dug down deep when he needed to.
Lackey got two quick outs. He struck out Josh Donaldson, and then got Jed Lowrie to hit a first-pitch pop up to Jose Iglesias at short.
Donaldson battled to even the count after falling behind, 0-2, but Lackey put him away with a fastball on the corner.
Lackey ran into some trouble when he hit Yoenis Cespedes and walked Brandon Moss with two outs. Moss’ walk had the potential to be very frustrating, as Lackey was ahead in the count, 1-2, before missing with three straight pitches.
Josh Reddick put up a good battle against Lackey with two outs. He saw eight pitches and fouled off three of them. Lackey eventually froze him with a fastball on the outside corner, though, and Reddick wasn’t too pleased with the call.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-0: Jarrod Parker has now retired seven in a row.
Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia went down in order in the fourth inning.
Napoli was called out on strikes, Nava grounded out to first base and Saltalamacchia flied out to center.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: John Lackey didn’t have any control issues in the third inning. He breezed through a scoreless frame.
Eric Sogard grounded out to second base for the first out of inning, and Lackey struck out Coco Crisp for out No. 2. Lackey kept the ball down and painted the inside corner to freeze Crisp.
Josh Jaso, like Sogard, grounded to second base.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: Jarrod Parker settled back down for a good third inning. He retired the side in order.
Shane Victorino began the inning with a flyout to left field, and Dustin Pedroia made the second out on a groundout to third base. Pedroia hustled down the line, per usual, and he nearly beat out Josh Donaldson’s throw, but the toss beat him by half a step.
David Ortiz ended the inning by lining out sharply to right field.
Ortiz has made solid contact in both of his at-bats, yet he has nothing to show for it. The slugger has been on a tear of late, though, and it’s obvious that he’s seeing the ball extremely well.
Ortiz has a team-high 19 home runs this season. When he connects on No. 20, it’ll be the 12th 20-home run season of his career — all of which have come since 2002. Of Ortiz’s 20-home run seasons, 11 have come with the Red Sox. He’s tied with Jim Rice and Dwight Evans for the second-most 20-homer seasons in club history. Ted Williams is the franchise leader with 16 such seasons.
To see how Ortiz’s 2013 season stacks up with Williams’ 1941 season, check out BostonFanFavorites.com.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: John Lackey struggled with his control in the second inning, but he navigated through his two walks.
Lackey began the inning by striking out Jed Lowrie. Lowrie went down on three pitches.
The A’s got their first baserunner when Yoenis Cespedes walked with one down. He laid off a cutter in the dirt to earn the free pass.
Cespedes then caused some trouble on the bases with two outs. He swiped both second base and third base with Josh Reddick batting.
Reddick eventually walked to set up runners at the corners, but Seth Smith bounced softly to first base, where Mike Napoli made the play and took it to the bag himself to end the inning.
10:59 p.m.:, Red Sox 2-0: The Red Sox have added a reliever.
The Red Sox have acquired left-hander Matt Thornton from the White Sox in exchange for minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs. Boston also receives cash considerations as part of the deal.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Brock Holt is leaving his mark at the bottom of the order, and the Red Sox are being very aggressive on the bases.
Holt, who had a couple of hits Thursday, delivered a two-out, two-run single in the second inning.
The inning started with a throwing error by third baseman Josh Donaldson that allowed Mike Napoli to reach second base. Daniel Nava was then plunked, after which there was a rather lengthy delay because of umpire CB Bucknor’s injury.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia flied out to left field for the first out, and Napoli and Nava both tagged up. A good throw from Yoenis Cespedes would have nailed Napoli at third base, but his chuck was off the mark and both runners reached their intended destinations.
Jose Iglesias followed with a fly ball to right field. Josh Reddick made the play and came up firing. Napoli started toward home, but he threw on the brakes about halfway down the line and retreated back to third base.
Holt then stepped in and worked the count full against Jarrod Parker before going the other way into left field. Both runners scored, as Cespedes’ throw home was horrendous.
10:31 p.m., 0-0: We have a bit of a delay.
Home plate umpire CB Bucknor took a ball to the mask, and he’s now exiting the field. They’ll proceed with three umpires in this game.
Bucknor was hit when Jarrod Parker’s pitch ricocheted off Daniel Nava’s helmet. Nava is OK, but Bucknor apparently is not.
The Red Sox have two runners on with no outs. Mike Napoli got to second base because of a throwing error, and Nava is now aboard at first base.
Bill Miller is the new home plate umpire.
End 1st, 0-0: John Lackey, who matched Jered Weaver pitch for pitch in a losing effort his last time out, enjoyed a 1-2-3 first inning.
Coco Crisp, who is just one of many Oakland players with Red Sox ties, led off with a ground ball to second base. Dustin Pedroia easily took care of it.
Lackey then struck out John Jaso swinging. Lackey went with all fastballs to Jaso, sitting at around 93-94 mph on the radar gun.
Josh Donaldson, whom many consider to be an All-Star snub, put up a good at-bat, but Lackey got him to hit a lazy fly ball to right field for the final out.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Jacoby Ellsbury wasted no time extending his hit streak Thursday. He’ll have to wait a bit longer in this one.
Ellsbury extended his hit streak to 19 games with a leadoff home run Thursday. This time around, Ellsbury struck out on three pitches. He waved at a changeup down and in to complete the K.
Shane Victorino flied out to center field for the second out, but Dustin Pedroia tried to get something going with a two-out single into left field. Jarrod Parker tried to put Pedroia away with a changeup as well, but Pedey reached out and pulled a base hit into left field.
David Ortiz was given the green light in a 3-0 count and he made solid contact, but it was right at Coco Crisp for the inning’s final out.
10:09 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury takes a first-pitch strike. The action is underway on the West Coast.
10:01 p.m.: Friday’s game is the fourth of six contests between the Red Sox and A’s. Boston took two of three from Oakland at Fenway Park earlier this season.
9:51 p.m.: Congratulations to Dustin Pedroia.
The Arizona Fall League announced Friday that Pedroia has been selected as a 2013 inductee into the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame. Former major leaguer Darin Erstad and A’s manager Bob Melvin will also be inducted.
9:39 p.m.: Clay Buchholz’s schedule has once again been adjusted.
Buchholz was expected to make his first of two minor league rehab starts Sunday, but that will no longer be the case.
Buchholz, who threw a bullpen session Friday, will throw another bullpen session with the Red Sox in Oakland rather than join one of the club’s minor league affiliates. The right-hander will then travel to the All-Star Game — which he won’t pitch in — and throw a simulated game at Fenway next week. After that, he’ll make one rehab start.
John Farrell told reporters before Friday’s game that the altered plans don’t represent a setback. It’s simply a change.
9:12 p.m.: We’ve been wondering for a few days who would get the nod Sunday, and we now have an answer.
Brandon Workman will start Sunday’s game in Oakland.
Workman made his major league debut out of the bullpen Wednesday, and he was touched up despite showing flashes of his potential. The 24-year-old surrendered three runs on four hits in the eighth inning before working a perfect ninth inning. He struck out four Mariners hitters.
Steven Wright was a candidate to start Sunday, but his solid effort out of the bullpen Thursday eliminated him from contention.
Drake Britton was also a candidate before the decision was made.
6:25 p.m.: The lineup cards have been posted. Check them out below.
Red Sox (57-37)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jose Iglesias, SS
Brock Holt, 3B
John Lackey, RHP (6-6, 2.80 ERA)
Coco Crisp, CF
John Jaso, C
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Jed Lowrie, SS
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Brandon Moss, 1B
Josh Reddick RF
Seth Smith, DH
Eric Sogard, 2B
Jarrod Parker, (6-6, 4.04 ERA)
8 a.m. ET: Every now and then, you come to a series that serves as a measuring stick. This is one of those series.
The Red Sox and Athletics open up a three-game set at the top of their respective divisions. The Sox, who enter with an AL-best 57-37 record, own a 3 1/2 game lead over the Rays, while the A’s, who own a 54-38 record, lead the AL West by one game over the Rangers.
It looked like the Red Sox were starting to slip a bit after Saturday’s crushing loss to the Angels. They dropped three straight, and it appeared as though the 10-game West Coast trip could prove to be disastrous. They’ve since bounced back, though, and they enter Friday’s series opener in Oakland riding a three-game winning streak.
Boston will send John Lackey to the mound Friday, and he looks to build on a very impressive run. The right-hander, who you could argue is the team’s ace right now, ranks fifth in the American League with a 2.80 ERA. That’s his best mark through his first 15 starts in any season of his career, and he looks like a man on a mission.
The Red Sox needed 10 innings to take care of the Mariners on Thursday, but fortunately, that game was a late-afternoon start. Friday will be a later one, as the first pitch is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET.
Throw on some coffee, and get ready for late-night baseball. Be sure to tune in on NESN, and keep it right here with NESN.com.