The Boston Red Sox salvaged a win against the Oakland Athletics. It wasn’t easy.
The Red Sox, who finally had a good day offensively, now head to Seattle for three games against the surprisingly good Mariners.
Here’s what happened Sunday.
– Jon Lester cruised right along until running into trouble with two outs in the eighth inning.
Lester plunked Craig Gentry with an 0-2 pitch and walked Jed Lowrie. Red Sox manager John Farrell turned to the bullpen and Burke Badenhop allowed both inherited runners to score.
Badenhop’s ineffectiveness led to an uglier stat line for Lester, but Boston’s ace certainly did his job. Lester was charged with three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks over 7 2/3 innings. He struck out four and threw 111 pitches (65 strikes) while lowering his ERA to 3.14.
– The Red Sox scored three runs or fewer in eight straight games before Sunday. They wasted no time in breaking through against A’s starter Tommy Milone, posting two runs in the first inning and five runs over the first five frames.
Jonny Gomes’ two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded in the first inning gave Boston its first lead of the series and got everything going in the right direction. Gomes had a team-high three hits.
– David Ross and Mike Napoli homered in the second and fifth innings, respectively. They each had two hits.
– Napoli was credited with a steal of home in the third inning after Jonathan Herrera almost got picked off between first and second base. Napoli used a “ninja” style slide — his words — to avoid catcher Derek Norris’ tag.
– Herrera was at the heart of some key moments while playing in place of shortstop Stephen Drew. He cut down a run at the plate in the second inning and delivered an RBI triple in the eighth inning.
Herrera’s triple ended up being bigger than originally anticipated because of the Red Sox’s bullpen implosion.
– Xander Bogaerts broke an 0-for-16 slump with a single in the ninth inning.
– Badenhop entered with an 18-inning scoreless streak over his last 17 appearances. He hadn’t allowed an earned run in 32 1/3 consecutive innings — the third-longest streak without an earned run as a reliever in Red Sox history behind Koji Uehara (33 2/3 innings in 2013) and Dick Radatz (33 innings in 1963).
Badenhop surrendered three straight RBI singles without recording an out.
– Uehara surrendered home runs to Stephen Vogt and John Jaso in the ninth inning as the A’s tied the game.
Before the blown save, Uehara had allowed just two earned runs over 46 1/3 innings in 44 save opportunities — regular season and postseason — since being named the Red Sox’s closer on June 21, 2013.
– Ortiz, who had been the only player in the Red Sox’s starting lineup without a hit, led off the 10th inning with a solo homer off lefty Fernando Abad.
Uehara came back to close things out in the bottom of the 10th.