A’s manager Bob Melvin didn’t have to call on his bullpen that much during his team’s three-game sweep in Texas.
He got his exercise Friday making several trips to the mound, and things took a turn for the disastrous for his bullpen in a 7-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Dustin Pedroia launched an 0-2 slider from Ryan Cook for a grand slam that broke open a close game in the bottom of the fifth.
It wasn’t the best day all-around for the A’s pitching staff, which surrendered 11 hits and seven walks as Oakland dropped the opener of this three-game series.
Dan Straily (1-2) didn’t make it out of the fifth inning, and four A’s relievers combined to allow five runs and four walks over the final 3 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, Oakland scraped together just five hits for the game in having its three-game winning streak snapped.
Starting pitching report
Straily was touched for just two runs but he walked three over 4 1/3 innings, and Melvin didn’t waste time going to his bullpen with runners on second and third with one out in the fifth.
Straily, who gave up four hits, has completed six innings just once over his past four starts. He threw first-pitch strikes to just three of 20 hitters.
Boston got to Straily for both runs off him in the bottom of the second. A.J. Pierzynksi singled to score Grady Sizemore, who doubled to lead off the inning. Then Jackie Bradley, Jr. lined a two-out double to left-center to bring home Pierzynski and make it 2-0.
After a day off, Melvin had a rested bullpen at his disposal.
Fernando Abad shined in his cameo. Entering with one out and runners on second and third in the fifth, he struck out David Ortiz looking on a crisp slider.
An intentional walk to Mike Napoli loaded the bases, and then Abad blew a fastball by Grady Sizemore to end the threat and strand three. The lefty has not allowed a run in 12 outings this season, and he has struck out 14 of the 41 batters he’s faced.
But trouble hit in the sixth with the A’s still trailing 2-1.
Dan Otero began the inning and gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out. Melvin called on Ryan Cook, who had gone six consecutive outings without allowing a run. He snapped off two sliders against Pedroia to get ahead 0-2, but then Cook hung a third slider that Pedroia crushed for a grand slam to left-center and a 6-1 Red Sox lead.
Cook knew it was gone the moment Pedroia made contact, shouting at himself as he completed his delivery.
At the plate
After an overflow of offense in their Texas sweep, the A’s couldn’t muster much against Boston’s Clay Buchholz (2-2). They got just three hits and one run over 6 1/3 innings against the right-hander.
John Jaso, who reached in all three of his plate appearances, tripled deep to center to lead off the third, and he scored with two outs on a wild pitch to bring the A’s to within 2-1.
That was it for the offense. Trailing by five in the eighth, Oakland had two runners on when Yoenis Cespedes lined out deep to center. Josh Donaldson, running from first, had rounded second base by the time Jackie Bradley, Jr. caught the ball. He was doubled off to the end the inning, a mistake that helped doom any hopes the A’s held of coming back.
In the field
Jaso uncorked a wild throw to second trying to nail a base runner, but the error wound up not hurting the A’s.
Tommy Milone (0-2, 4.56) takes the mound against lefty Jon Lester (2-4, 3.10) on Saturday at 10:35 a.m.