The Boston Red Sox’s offense showed improvement Friday night. It just wasn’t enough improvement.
The Red Sox entered the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum having scored two runs or fewer in each of their last six games. The Sox exceeded the two-run mark — scoring a whopping three runs — but the offense’s inability to produce timely hits again haunted Boston en route to a 4-3 loss.
Coco Crisp broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was another crushing day at the ballpark for the defending World Series champions, who now sit six games below .500 (34-40) after dropping back-to-back contests to the A’s.
Let’s go over some notes from Friday.
– MLB executive vice president Joe Torre issued a statement Friday condemning David Ortiz’s criticism of the Fenway Park official scorer earlier this week.
Ortiz offered no comment on Torre’s statement before Friday’s game.
“We’ve already had a chance to talk after that took place,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before the game. “It was a chance or a time when some frustration emerged. The review process will have a chance to take a look at it.”
– Felix Doubront made his first start since May 20 after being activated from the 15-day disabled list. He overcame a rough first inning in which he surrendered a three-run homer to Josh Donaldson to hold the A’s scoreless over the next 3 2/3 innings.
Doubront exited after throwing 90 pitches (49 strikes) over 4 2/3 innings. He allowed three earned runs on two hits and four walks while striking out four and hitting a batter.
“I felt pretty good,” Doubront told reporters in Oakland. “After the second inning, I was able to have a good feel for all my pitches. I thought I did a good job holding the score, hoping we would score one more run to win the game. But that’s baseball.”
– Stephen Drew hit a ground ball that should have been a second inning-ending double play. Nick Punto botched his backhanded flip to second base, which loaded the bases for Jackie Bradley Jr., who delivered a two-run single into center field.
It looked like the Red Sox were poised to inflict more damage, especially when Brock Holt connected on a line drive to center. Craig Gentry made an impressive diving play, though, and the A’s were able to double-up Drew, who took off from second base thinking the ball was going to drop.
– Ortiz tied the game in the third inning with an RBI single into right field. Ortiz and Mike Napoli each collected two hits.
– Xander Bogaerts went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He’s now hitting .093 (4-for-43) over his last 12 games, dropping his season average to .265 and his on-base percentage to .350.
– Burke Badenhop surrendered three hits but extended his scoreless streak to 32 1/3 innings. Andrew Miller helped preserve the streak by escaping a seventh-inning jam.
– Miller hit Kyle Blanks and Alberto Callaspo in the eighth inning. Crisp gave Oakland a 4-3 lead by shooting a 2-2 fastball into right field.
– Shane Victorino, who currently is in the midst of a rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket, was held out of the lineup for a second straight day. He’s dealing with general stiffness, and he’ll need more at-bats before rejoining the major league club.
“Hopefully, we’ll get him out on the field and back to us as soon as we can,” Farrell said. “We’re certainly a better team with a healthy Shane Victorino. That goes without saying. But we’ve got to make sure that when we do get him back, he’s with us for the remainder of the season.”