BOSTON — The Red Sox received a great deal of pop from the top Friday night in their win over the Oakland A’s.
Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt, the Nos. 1 and 2 batters in Boston’s order, went a combined 5-for-8 with two doubles in the 4-2 victory, providing nearly half of the team’s 11 hits and scoring two of its four runs.
“They did (set the tone),” manager John Farrell said after the game. “Five hits combined, some good energy on the basepaths. Pedey, who’s had good success against (A’s starter Scott) Kazmir coming into this game, continued that. And right out of the gate, we’re able to get the base hit down in the left field corner. We took advantage of some of the miscues that contributed to some of the runs, but I thought we played with very good energy here (Friday).
The inclusion of Holt, who started at third in place of the slumping Pablo Sandoval, also helped steady a Red Sox infield that struggled in Thursday’s loss to the Minnesota Twins. Starter Wade Miley induced 14 ground-ball outs in his 7 1/3 innings of work, and Boston did not commit an error in the game.
“(Friday night) we played, I think, with a lot of energy on the infield,” Farrell said. “Holt makes a nice play ranging to his glove side (in the first inning), and then even later on he makes a nice play backhanded where he’s able to play deep and trust his arm strength. So, his range plays well at the position. But I think more games played between (shortstop Xander Bogaerts) and Pedey up the middle, they understand one another’s moves that much more regularly. And to see how far Bogey’s come defensively is extremely encouraging.”
Some additional notes from Friday’s series opener at Fenway Park:
— Alejandro De Aza made his debut in left field for the Red Sox, going 1-for-3 with a single and charging in to catch Mark Canha’s line drive for the final out of the ninth inning.
“For having seven or eight days and not playing, he stepped right in,” Farrell said. “Gets a good, clean base hit off of Kazmir. This is a guy that’s done some damage against us when he was with Baltimore, and hopefully he’s going to be able to contribute. He ranges far to record the last out of the game. He will certainly be in the mix.”
— Koji Uehara worked around a single and a double in the ninth to record his 12th save of the season. It was the 59th of his Red Sox career, pushing him past Lee Smith for ninth on the franchise’s all-time list.
— Farrell said he expects right fielder Shane Victorino, who currently is on the disabled list with a calf injury, to begin a minor league rehab assignment early next week.
“He’s got to prove to us there’s the ability to go nine innings a couple, three days consecutively before we (activate him),” Farrell said.
— Right-hander Justin Masterson completed a rehab start Friday at Double-A Portland, allowing two runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings of work. He walked one and struck out two.
— Much of the buzz around the ballpark involved ambidextrous A’s reliever Pat Venditte, who became the first major league pitcher since 1995 to throw both right-handed and left-handed in the same outing. Miley said he’d never dream of trying that feat himself, but he revealed that Sandoval shares Venditte’s gift.
“Pablo can actually do it,” Miley said. “Pablo can throw right-handed and left-handed. It’s really impressive.”
Thumbnail photo via Charles Krupa/Associated Press