Brett Anderson was too good and the Boston bullpen was too bad in this one.
There isn't much time to recover. The two teams are back at it Wednesday afternoon in a 3:37 p.m. start (Eastern time).
Clay Buchholz will be on the mound for the Sox, who head to Anaheim immediately after the game. Look for the live blog early in the day and just keep hitting refresh for the next 12 hours as we bring you all the news, notes and analysis.
End 8th, Athletics 5-0: My son was a toddler sleeping in his crib when the eighth inning started. Just saw him leave with a suitcase, apparently off to college already.
Three Red Sox pitchers gave up four hits and one walk in an interminable frame. There was a stolen base, an error and a general sense that this one is just about over.
Hideki Okajima was the primary culprit. Not good. Bad. Looked a lot like he did through stretches of 2010 in this, his 2011 debut with the team.
12:34 a.m.: This game was absolutely flying along until two (soon to be three) Red Sox relievers combined to throw about 100 pitches.
The 31st by Hideki Okajima is hammered by Hideki Matsui for a two-run double, giving Oakland a 4-0 lead.
From the awkward double play in the top half of this inning to the marathon bottom half, it's been brutal for Boston here in the eighth.
Alfredo Aceves has taken over. This game has a 2010 feel to it in terms of what happened when you got into the Sox' pen.
12:22 a.m.: The A's have pushed across a huge run in the eighth on Daric Barton's RBI hit against a drawn-in infield. Barton's from Vermont, so the chances of him not coming through were slim to none.
12:13 a.m.: Dan Wheeler gives up a leadoff double to Cliff Pennington in the eighth. The A's pursuit of an insurance run will have to take place against Hideki Okajima.
Pitching change in Oakland.
Mid 8th, Athletics 1-0: That was a screwy play to say the least, but I think the umps got everything right.
Mike Cameron did go far enough on his swing, and he did get in the path of Kurt Suzuki trying to throw out Jacoby Ellsbury stealing second.
It was as awkward as anything you will see in terms of how it was called, but the call itself was right.
The strike-em-out, throw-em-out kills the first of two chances for the Sox in the eighth. Ellsbury was running for David Ortiz, who singled to start the inning. He was off on a 3-2 offering to Cameron, who tried to check his swing but could not and then drifted into the catcher's path.
Carl Crawford reached on an infield hit moments later and Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a base hit to left. As he has done all game, Brett Anderson throws a breaking ball that Darnell McDonald swings over the top of. Strike three. Inning over. Tough one to take for the Sox.
End 7th, Athletics 1-0: Dan Wheeler hasn't been discussed much in these first few weeks. He had some issues with lefties early on, and even if he's on his game the Rhode Island native will be overshadowed by others in the bullpen.
But Wheeler will be an incredibly important member of the pen. What he did in the bottom of the seventh is Exhibit A. Wheeler struck out two in a perfect frame to keep the Sox within a run.
Brett Anderson will take the hill having thrown 82 pitches. David Ortiz, Mike Cameron and Carl Crawford are due up.
Mid 7th, Athletics 1-0: In a scenario rather apt for this evening, the Red Sox get a break when Brett Anderson trips trying to throw out Adrian Gonzalez and allows the slugger to reach.
The very next pitch to Kevin Youkilis results in a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play. Anderson now has six straight hitless innings.
Shows what I know. Dan Wheeler relieves John Lackey after he throws 93 pitches in six innings. The thought on this is that it's been such a layoff that he sort of needs to build back up to that 100-pitch level. Great effort by Lackey after being off the mound for 10 days.
End 6th, Athletics 1-0: John Lackey's career ERA against Oakland is now down to 2.86. Brett Anderson's against Boston is at 2.19.
This one playing out true to form.
Lackey survived a one-out bloop single by David DeJesus in the sixth. Dan Wheeler was up and warming in the bullpen, but Lackey should get another inning, at least.
Mid 6th, Athletics 1-0: Brett Anderson keeps finding success with breaking balls down and in on righties. Even Jed Lowrie looked lost on the final pitch of the sixth, giving a little half swing at one in the dirt for strike three.
That's six Ks for Anderson. He has thrown 73 pitches, nine fewer than John Lackey in one more inning of work.
End 5th, Athletics 1-0: Nice job by John Lackey to wiggle out of a little mess in the fifth. With two on and one out, he gets Cliff Pennington and Coco Crisp and moves on to the sixth in pretty good shape.
I like this A's team a lot, but so many of these guys just look too much alike. White guys with brown or blonde hair, most of them clean-shaven. Then there's Coco.
Mid 5th, Athletics 1-0: Brett Anderson's pitch count is in the negatives. Or so it seems. The Sox are having some wicked quick at-bats, and all of them are resulting in soft grounders or weak swings at what is a biting slider.
That Adrian Gonzalez single is an extreme aberration right now.
End 4th, Athletics 1-0: As alluded to earlier, John Lackey was throwing well enough early on to suggest that he might find a groove. He seems to have found it.
Lackey strikes out two in the fourth and has set down seven in a row. His ERA is down to a tidy 11.37.
Mid 4th, Athletics 1-0: Dustin Pedroia drew a leadoff walk against the almighty Brett Anderson, but was picked off on a very awkward move to first (Pedroia was running and tagged out at second).
Pedroia instantly began barking that it was a balk and Terry Francona raced to home plate umpire Jim Reynolds to argue the case. He must've said something colorful, for Francona is tossed for the first time this year.
I think they had a good argument. Anderson seemed to almost second-guess his intentions midway through his motion.
Naturally, Anderson takes the momentum from the non-call and strikes out both Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis to end it. He has five Ks already.
End 3rd, Athletics 1-0: If this was a boxing match, John Lackey would be the guy spitting blood by the end of the second round while Brett Anderson would be dancing in his corner just waiting for the bell.
By that analogy, the third inning gave Lackey a chance to get in a few shots. He needed just 12 pitches to post his first 1-2-3 frame.
Not that Lackey was struggling at all, but the body language, the early run, the higher pitch count, the 10-day-old stubble … it just gave him a slightly beaten look early on. Perhaps he can settle in a bit now and give the Sox a few more good innings. They'll need it against Anderson.
Mid 3rd, Athletics 1-0: John Lackey can barely towel off and take a sip before he has to head back out there. Brett Anderson making quick work of the Red Sox.
Anderson has thrown only 32 pitches through three.
End 2nd, Athletics 1-0: John Lackey was oh so close to a quick and painless inning. But a Mark Ellis double, a wild pitch and several issues trying to get on the same page with Jarrod Saltalamacchia makes the righty have to work a bit more.
He finally gets out of it with a slider that Kevin Kouzmanoff swings through. Would have been ball four.
The great Mariano Rivera just blew a save for the Yankees. Toronto still hitting in the bottom of the ninth.
Mid 2nd, Athletics 1-0: Most of you reading this are probably hoping for a Red Sox win, but my guess is that many of you also want a speedy affair, knowing that the alarm goes off pretty soon.
Well, Brett Anderson will do his part. He flew through the second inning. Some really quick at-bats for the Sox, including another fast out by Carl Crawford.
End 1st, Athletics 1-0: Some textbook baseball by the A's to pick up an early run.
Coco Crisp leads off with a single, wastes no time running on Jarrod Saltalamacchia, moves to third on a grounder to the right side and scores on another to shortstop.
John Lackey obviously didn't want to give up a score right off the bat, but he did show some really good life on the fastball. That's either adrenaline from not having pitched in 10 days, or just a stronger, rested arm because of it.
Either way, if he can harness that and locate it over the next few innings, he can have a chance for a nice night.
On a negative note, Crisp was practically jumping out of his shoes wanting to steal second. Lackey threw over four straight times before delivering a pitch to the second hitter, Daric Barton. Oakland will run any chance it gets.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Adrian Gonzalez will lead the league in 400-foot singles, for sure. Not only is a rather slow-footed, but he hits absolute lasers.
His blast to right hit the high wall about 15 feet shy of getting out, but Gonzalez was just rounding first when the ball was being thrown back in. That's as far as he would go. Kevin Youkilis struck out on a slider down and in, the same pitch that got Jed Lowrie to begin the inning.
9:55 p.m.: Just took a quick glance at John Lackey's split stats to see how he performs in varied states of rest.
On normal four day's rest, Lackey is 63-38 with a 3.82 ERA. With five days between starts, he is 41-32 with a 3.94 mark. With six days or more, his numbers suffer, as he is 11-12 with a 4.49 ERA.
These guys are such creatures of habit. While his arm and body may be the beneficiary in the long run of a little bit of time off, Lackey's career numbers suggest the long layoff of 10 days may hinder him this time out. We'll see.
9:32 p.m.: The Red Sox made sure they did the Hideki Okajima move in part so that they wouldn't need to do a cross-country shuttling of pitchers from Oakland (or Anaheim) to Boston.
I guess Okajima and Matt Albers don't make good traveling buddies?
Albers will be making the trip to the West Coast later in the week after his second rehab outing for Pawtucket tonight. He threw two scoreless innings against Syracuse, giving up one hit and striking out one.
The likely victim of the move will be Alfredo Aceves, who can then finally get stretched out in the PawSox rotation.
9:25 p.m.: In case you aren't paying attention, the Celtics and Knicks are locked in a doozy of a duel. For NESN.com's take on the night, follow Evan Clinchy's live blog.
8:05 p.m.: The Red Sox are 10-19 in Oakland over the last six years, and many of their visits have resulted in some pretty maddening defeats.
You might recall their second of six games in Oakland Coliseum last year, when they raced to a 4-0 lead after two innings before the A's tied it in the third and teams stayed in that 4-4 tie all the way into extra innings.
Along the way, Boston wasted a ton of scoring chances before a Kevin Kouzmanoff RBI single in the 10th ended it.
The next day, Clay Buchholz had one of his worst starts of the season in a 6-4 loss.
The Sox' 2-6 start in 2009 was punctuated by Daisuke Matsuzaka's one-inning disaster in Oakland, a start that sent him to the disabled list for more than a month.
Boston suffered a three-game sweep in the Coliseum in 2008 and 2006. They dropped three of four out there in 2007, with the one win ending on a slightly disappointing note when Curt Schilling lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth.
For whatever reason, against some rather mediocre A's teams, the Sox have not performed well in The O.
Of course, John Lackey has loved it here, but most of his success came when he was with the Angels. His one start in Oakland as a member of the Red Sox resulted in, you guessed it, a loss, even though Lackey pitched pretty well.
That's just the way it goes when Boston heads to that city by the city by the bay.
6:37 p.m.: Jed Lowrie is getting another start and batting leadoff for the second time. Jacoby Ellsbury gets a night off.
Here are the lineups for both teams:
Jed Lowrie, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Cameron, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Darnell McDonald, CF
Coco Crisp, CF
Daric Barton, 1B
David DeJesus, RF
Josh Willingham, LF
Hideki Matsui, DH
Kurt Suzuki, C
Mark Ellis, 2B
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B
Cliff Pennington, SS
5:49 p.m.: Good evening, readers. Just chiming in to let you know that lineups should be over soon. The Red Sox are taking on another lefty in Brett Anderson, who is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA against Boston.
The weather is just fine in Oakland and should present nothing but ideal conditions for the quick two-game set.
8 a.m.: After being skipped in the rotation due to a rainout and a shuffling of the rotation, John Lackey takes the hill Tuesday night in Oakland in the first of nine straight games on the road for the Red Sox.
Lackey has not pitched since April 8, when he was the winning pitcher in Boston's first victory of the season. However, he gave up six runs in five innings of that one and has a 15.58 ERA through his first two starts.
The right-hander was scheduled to start Wednesday against Tampa Bay, but a rainout at Fenway Park forced the Red Sox to alter their rotation. Rather than move all five starters to different days, the team had Lackey miss a complete turn, get some extra work in and then set his sights on the A's, against whom he has enjoyed plenty of success.
In 31 career starts vs. Oakland, Lackey is 17-5 with a 2.90 ERA. Sixteen of those starts have taken place at Oakland Coliseum, where he is 8-4 with a 2.92 mark.
Lackey will be entrusted with trying to keep alive Boston's first winning streak of the year. The Sox outscored the Toronto Blue Jays by a 21-3 margin over the final three games of a nine-game homestand.
First pitch for this one is scheduled for 10:05 p.m.