Final, Red Sox 7-1: Craig Breslow put the game to rest with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. The Red Sox defeated the American League’s top team just one day after falling into last place in the AL East by virtue of a doubleheader sweep.
The Red Sox, who dropped two games to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, took down the Oakland Athletics on Friday at Fenway Park behind a strong effort from Clay Buchholz. The right-hander allowed just one earned run on three hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings.
The Red Sox jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning when A.J. Pierzynski and Jackie Bradley Jr. knocked in runs with a single and a double, respectively. The game’s big blow, however, was delivered by Dustin Pedroia, who launched a sixth-inning grand slam to help Boston seize total control.
Pedroia’s well-timed grand slam was the second of his career. It also happened to be his 100th career home run. Pedey now has 503 career RBIs after collecting four in Friday’s win.
Jon Lester will take the mound Saturday afternoon as the Red Sox look to make it two straight over the A’s. Lester will face Tommy Milone in a game scheduled for 1:35 p.m.
End 8th, Red Sox 7-1: Mike Napoli added to Boston’s lead in the eighth inning with an RBI single into center field.
Dustin Pedroia, who launched a grand slam in the sixth inning, walked with one out in the eighth. Shane Victorino singled into right field.
Drew Pomeranz struck out David Ortiz — marking his second strikeout of the inning — but couldn’t close off the frame unscathed. Napoli gripped and ripped a 1-1 fastball.
Craig Breslow will look to record the final three outs for Boston.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-1: Edward Mujica didn’t make it look easy, but a terrific catch by Jackie Bradley Jr. eliminated any threat of an Oakland comeback in the eighth inning.
After giving up two consecutive singles to Jed Lowrie and Josh Donaldson, Mujica was helped out by Mike Napoli, who snagged a sharp liner off the bat of Brandon Moss for the first out of the inning.
The next batter, Yoenis Cespedes, put a jolt into a long fly ball to deep center, but Bradley Jr. executed a leaping catch at the wall for the out.
Bradley Jr.’s subsequent throw to the cutoff man was perfect, and the Red Sox were able to execute the 8-4-3 double play, catching Donaldson on his way back to first base.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-1: Xander Bogaerts started things off well for the Red Sox with a solid single through the infield, but the subsequent batters couldn’t advance him any further.
A.J. Pierzynski made good contact on a line drive to right-center field, but speedy Coco Crisp was able to cover the distance and put him away for the Athletics’ first out.
Relief pitcher Drew Pomeranz then forced Will Middlebrooks to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-1: After recording one out and a walk in the top half of the seventh inning, Clay Buchholz’s night is over.
His final line reads a respectable 6 1/3 innings pitched, allowing three hits and one earned run while compiling five strike outs on 110 pitches, 65 for strikes.
Buchholz was able to force Josh Reddick to ground out to Xander Bogaerts for the first out, but after walking John Jaso, John Farrell made the switch, bringing in left-hander Andrew Miller to record the final two outs.
Miller didn’t waste any time, striking out pinch hitter Nick Punto and then doing the same to Coco Crisp.
End 6th, Red Sox 6-1: You can’t do any better than that for home run No. 100.
Dustin Pedroia launched his 100th career home run in the sixth inning. It was a well-timed grand slam — the second of Pedroia’s career — into the first row of Monster seats.
Xander Bogaerts, A.J. Pierzynski and Jackie Bradley Jr. all scored ahead of Pedroia on the grand salami. Bogaerts and Pierzynski each singled in the inning. Bradley walked.
Pedroia’s grand slam came off Ryan Cook, who replaced Dan Otero after Bradley’s walk loaded the bases with one out.
The umpires reviewed the grand slam to make sure it cleared the wall and wasn’t a product of fan interference. For once, the review process went Boston’s way, as it was an obvious home run.
David Ortiz drilled a two-out double off the center field wall and Mike Napoli walked, prompting Bob Melvin to make another pitching change. Drew Pomeranz entered and retired Grady Sizemore on a fly ball to left field.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-1: The A’s have been Red Sox-like this season when it comes to leaving men on base. Oakland left two more on base in the sixth inning.
Josh Donaldson walked with one out after Mike Napoli snagged a sharply hit liner off the bat of Jed Lowrie to begin the inning.
Buchholz followed by striking out Brandon Moss, but the right-hander let go of a wild pitch with Yoenis Cespedes batting that enabled Donaldson to scoot into scoring position. The Red Sox then decided to put Cespedes on base intentionally.
Buchholz again escaped trouble, though. Alberto Callaspo lifted a routine fly ball to left field to end the threat.
End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the fifth.
Jackie Bradley Jr. walked versus starter Dan Straily to begin the inning. Straily had a hard time locating the strike zone at times, tossing just 40 of his 82 pitches for strikes despite walking only three batters.
Dustin Pedroia connected on a rocket over Yoenis Cespedes’ head in left field. The ball one-hopped the wall, and Pedroia cruised into second base as Bradley scampered to third.
Shane Victorino hit a fly ball to medium-depth right field that initially looked like it might be deep enough to score Bradley from third base. Josh Reddick has a terrific arm, though, so the Red Sox wisely decided not to push the envelope.
Manager Bob Melvin turned to his bullpen with two outs. He called upon lefty Fernando Abad with David Ortiz digging in. Ortiz worked the count full, but Abad put Big Papi away with a breaking ball on the outside corner.
The A’s walked Mike Napoli to set up a bases-loaded showdown between Abad and Grady Sizemore. Sizemore, like Ortiz, worked the count full, but Abad won the battle by reaching back for a 93 mph heater.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-1: The Red Sox still are working out some kinks defensively, though it didn’t cost them in the run department in the fifth inning.
Alberto Callaspo led off with a chopper back to the mound. Clay Buchholz slid while attempting to field the high hop, and the ball sneaked away, enabling Callaspo to reach at first base.
John Jaso followed with a ground ball to third base with one out. Will Middlebrooks was shaded up the middle with the left-handed hitter at the plate, so he needed to range a long way toward the third base line. Middlebrooks was unable to make a somewhat difficult play, and Jaso reached with an infield single.
Buchholz, to his credit, escaped the inning unscathed. Eric Sogard flied out to center, and Coco Crisp bounced to first base, where Mike Napoli made the play and flipped to Buchholz for the out.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: The Red Sox couldn’t create any separation in the fourth inning.
Xander Bogaerts, A.J. Pierzynski and Will Middlebrooks were handled rather easily by A’s starter Dan Straily.
Bogaerts started the inning with a well-struck grounder down the third base line. Josh Donaldson made a nice backhanded pick before firing across the diamond for the out.
Pierzynski and Middlebrooks both flied out to Coco Crisp in center.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Clay Buchholz struck out two while assembling a clean fourth inning.
Josh Donaldson foul tipped a 2-2 cutter into A.J. Pierzynski’s mitt for the first out of the fourth inning. Yoenis Cespedes later fanned on a 2-2 cutter to end the inning.
Sandwiched in-between was a soft comebacker off the bat of Brandon Moss.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: The Red Sox went down in order after Shane Victorino’s leadoff walk.
David Ortiz popped to third base, Mike Napoli struck out and Grady Sizemore flied to center field.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: Jackie Bradley Jr. crashed into the center field wall in the third inning. Adding insult to injury was the fact that JBJ came up empty handed.
John Jaso sent a fly ball to deep center field. Bradley raced back toward the warning track but failed to make the catch. The 24-year-old then lost his footing following the lunging attempt and banged into the garage door located on the center field wall. It looked painful, but Bradley sprung up and appeared to be OK.
Jaso ended up on third base with a triple. Clay Buchholz nearly worked his way through trouble, but a wild pitch allowed Oakland to get on the scoreboard.
After Buchholz retired Eric Sogard and Coco Crisp, the right-hander fired a pitch in the dirt with Jed Lowrie batting. The pitch traveled between catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s legs and to the backstop, allowing Jaso to score Oakland’s first run.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: The Red Sox scored two runs on three hits in the second inning.
Grady Sizemore got things going for Boston with a double off the left field wall. Sizemore has struggled for much of this season, but he’s beginning to look a bit more comfortable this homestand.
A.J. Pierzynski, who also looks more comfortable, knocked in Sizemore with a single. Third baseman Josh Donaldson made a diving attempt, but the ball deflected off his glove and into left field.
Jackie Bradley Jr. added Boston’s second run with a line drive into the left-center field gap. Pierzynski looked winded after racing all the way around from first base, but the 37-year-old catcher got the job done.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Yoenis Cespedes’ one-out double went for naught.
Cespedes strung together a solid at-bat against Clay Buchholz, seeing seven pitches and fouling off a couple in a row en route to a wall-ball double off the Green Monster.
The A’s failed to do anything with Cespedes’ knock, though. Buchholz rebounded to handle Alberto Callaspo and Josh Reddick on a pair of fly balls to Grady Sizemore in left field.
End 1st, 0-0: Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Red Sox stranded a runner at third base.
Dustin Pedroia led off with a six-pitch walk. He now has reached base in a season-high 13 straight games, and has reached safely in five of his 11 game-opening plate appearances this season.
Shane Victorino struck out swinging and David Ortiz lifted a high fly ball down the left field line to give Dan Straily two outs immediately following Pedroia’s free pass.
The Sox opted to get aggressive on the bases, as Pedroia took off for second base with Mike Napoli at the plate. Catcher John Jaso’s terrible throw sailed into center field and Pedroia advanced to third base.
Pedroia never crossed the dish, as Napoli skied a routine fly ball to left field for the first inning’s final out.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Clay Buchholz worked a 1-2-3 first inning.
Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie and Josh Donaldson went down in order against Buchholz.
Crisp lined to second base, Lowrie flied to right field and Donaldson came up empty on a good-looking 0-2 cutter.
7:15 p.m.: Clay Buchholz begins his sixth start of 2014.
6:48 p.m.: There certainly are some familiar faces in the Oakland Athletics’ lineup. Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick all played for the Red Sox at one point or another.
John Farrell said before Thursday’s game that it’s something he’s well-aware of, and the Red Sox skipper also noted that there are some similarities between the two clubs’ brand of baseball.
“In many ways, offensively, they’re a lot like we are,” Farrell said. “We value the same things in hitters, and that’s to get on base.”
The Red Sox had plenty of scoring chances in Thursday’s doubleheader, but they again struggled to produce runs. Boston enters Thursday’s game hitting .223 with runners in scoring position this season, which ranks 12th in the American League.
“The most important thing is we continue to create [run-scoring] opportunities,” Farrell said. “What we’re trying to get back to is just pass the baton on to the next guy, even in those at-bats with runners in scoring position. It doesn’t mean that we’re less aggressive. That means we’re staying with the same level of assertiveness and not muscling up in certain cases.”
Farrell also noted that the reports have been positive on Daniel Nava since the outfielder’s demotion to Triple-A Pawtucket.
5:20 p.m.: The Red Sox’s offense has struggled in key spots, but manager John Farrell said before Thursday’s game he doesn’t anticipate any major lineup changes. Boston already has featured a whole bunch of lineups in its first 29 games, and there only are so many adjustments one club can make.
“I’m not looking to pull (the lineup) out of a hat,” Farrell said.
Friday’s complete lineups are below.
Boston Red Sox (13-16)
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Shane Victorino, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Grady Sizemore, LF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Clay Buchholz, RHP (1-2, 6.66 ERA)
Oakland Athletics (12-16)
Coco Crisp, CF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Brandon Moss, 1B
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Alberto Callaspo, DH
Josh Reddick, RF
John Jaso, C
Eric Sogard, 2B
Dan Straily, RHP (1-1, 5.14 ERA)
5 p.m. ET: Losing one game stinks. Losing two games really stinks.
The Boston Red Sox learned that Thursday, as they dropped both games of their doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Making matters worse for Boston — other than the Bruins losing to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series — was that both of the Red Sox’s losses were crushing, one-run defeats.
The Red Sox, who fell to 13-16 Thursday, need to turn the page, as they’re welcoming the Oakland Athletics to Boston for three games this weekend. The A’s enter the three-game set with an American League-best 18-10 record.
Clay Buchholz will take the ball for Boston in Friday’s series opener. The right-hander went seven innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in his last start Saturday, surrendering just three runs on six hits while earning his first victory of 2014. Buchholz will face Dan Straily.
Friday’s series opener is scheduled to get going at 7:10 p.m. Be sure to tune in on NESN and keep it right here with NESN.com for updates.