The Red Sox and Oakland Athletics both were scoreless through eight innings Sunday, but the Red Sox didn’t have the excuse of being no-hit.
Eduardo Rodriguez pitched a phenomenal game in the Red Sox’s series finale against the A’s, holding them to one hit over eight strong innings. Boston put hits on the board as the lefty spun a gem, but as has been the case in many close games this season, the Red Sox couldn’t translate them into runs in their 1-0 loss.
The popular opinion might be to blame closer Craig Kimbrel, who walked Danny Valencia and gave up a double to Khris Davis to start and end the bottom of the ninth inning. But an error by Brock Holt in left field actually cost the Red Sox the run — a natural outfielder could have prevented Valencia from scoring — and the offense was the reason any of them were grinding through a scoreless tie in the first place.
The Red Sox were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position Sunday and left nine men on base. They had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth inning and still didn’t score.
In the big picture, the Red Sox still won the series and still have a reasonable shot at winning the American League East. No one was expecting Boston to win its final 27 games. But it’s at least somewhat troubling that they still struggle to plate runners in close games in September.
Here are some more notes from Sunday’s loss.
— Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Sunday’s game that Clay Buchholz will start against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday in Steven Wright’s place. The right-hander went 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA (five earned runs over 16 2/3 innings) in the three spot starts he made in August.
— Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi is getting a new brace for his sprained knee and is starting to ramp up his baseball activities, WEEI’s Rob Bradford reported Sunday.
“There’s been a little bit of dry swinging,” Farrell said. “He still is gradually introducing exercises and getting a little more diverse with the workouts and the rehab. I would suspect, once we get to San Diego, there might be a little bit more of an increase in the volume and the type of activity. That’s going to be dependent upon the brace and how he feels with it. All in all, he’s making steady progress.”
— With the Red Sox’s loss and a Toronto Blue Jays win, Boston drops to a full game out of first place in the AL East. The Baltimore Orioles lost Sunday, though, so they move to three games out of first.
Thumbnail photo via Neville E. Guard/USA TODAY Sports Images