Alex Cora had pressed all the right buttons for the Boston Red Sox through the first 20 games of the season, but sometimes decisions don’t pan out.
Such was the case Sunday in the Red Sox’s 4-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics.
With the game tied at one in the eighth inning, the A’s put together a one-out rally against Sox starter David Price. Marcus Semien singled to right and Stephen Piscotty followed by lacing a ball down the third-base line that Rafael Devers was able to knock down and keep in the infield, putting runners at first and second for Jed Lowrie.
Price was approaching 100 pitches and Cora had Carson Smith warming in the bullpen, but the manager elected to stick with the hard-throwing lefty. Price struck out Lowrie, who is Major League Baseball’s RBI leader, and Cora left him in to face right-handed slugger Khris Davis.
The move backfired as Price left a cutter out over the plate that Davis hammered over the left-field fence for a go-ahead, three-run home run that proved to be the difference in Oakland’s win.
After the game, Cora explained his decision to stick with Price instead of going to the bullpen.
“The last cutter, over the heart of the plate, he gets Jed out, we had (Carson Smith) ready, but I felt the way he — with the conviction he pitched and the way he dominated Jed, right now Jed is probably the best hitter in the league, so I decided to leave him there and he left a cutter over the plate and Davis put a good swing on it,” Cora said after the game, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage.
Cora noted it was Price’s last pitch to Lowrie that caused him to stick with the ace.
“We had Smith ready, but it doesn’t matter. The way (Price) got (Lowrie) out, you know, you could see, you know, he still had his fastball was good enough, and the pitch to Jed was probably the one that made me make the decision.”
The Red Sox manager did not have closer Craig Kimbrel warming during the eighth inning and said after the game that the right-hander only will come in for the eighth if Boston has a lead.
Boston now has lost two games in a row for the first time this season and will head to Toronto to finish its nine-game road trip against the Blue Jays.
Here are more notes from Red Sox-A’s:
— The Red Sox have scored one run in their last 21 innings.
— Sunday’s defeat gave Boston its first series loss of the season.
— The Red Sox now are 6-4 in games started by Chris Sale and Price. They are 11-0 in games started by everyone else.
— On this date in 2007, the Red Sox hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs against the New York Yankees. Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek each went yard off starter Chase Wright.
Let’s relive the moment:
Thumbnail photo via John Hefti/USA TODAY Sports Images