OAKLAND – The A’s lost out on a four-game sweep, but they did not go quietly Sunday.
Down five runs, they made a furious comeback against the Boston Red Sox to send the game to extra innings, only to lose 7-6 when David Ortiz homered off Fernando Abad in the top of the 10th.
That didn’t take away from the charge the A’s sent through a sellout crowd at the Coliseum. They scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to shave a 6-1 deficit to 6-4. Then Stephen Vogt homered with one out in the ninth off Boston closer Koji Uehara, and pinch hitter John Jaso added his own solo shot with two outs to tie it 6-6.
The mad comeback led to a flurry of substitutions by A’s manager Bob Melvin. Then catcher Derek Norris took yet another back swing to the head in the top of the 10th and had to leave the game. That continued a crazy afternoon for Vogt, who started in right field, shifted to first base, moved back to right field and then donned the catcher’s gear in the 10th.
The A’s lost the DH when Josh Donaldson had to enter at third base as part of the switches when Norris left, so with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, reliever Sean Doolittle pinch hit for Abad and grounded out to second against Uehara to end the game.
Just another day at the Coliseum.
The A’s still closed their 10-game homestand with a 7-3 record. They are off Monday and begin a three-city, eight-game trip Tuesday against the New York Mets.
Starting pitching report
Facing the Red Sox just doesn’t equate to good news for Tommy Milone. In three career starts against the Red Sox, Milone has an 11.85 ERA (18 ER in 13 2/3 IP).
As was the case in a May 3 outing at Fenway Park – when Milone gave up three homers and six runs – he again got off to a shaky start Sunday. He needed 34 pitches to navigate through a two-run first inning.
Former Athletic Jonny Gomes, who hit a grand slam off Milone in the first inning in Boston, this time delivered a two-run single with two outs in the first. Then David Ross hit Milone’s first pitch of the second inning for a homer to left-center that put the A’s in a 3-0 hole.
After Ross’ homer in the second, the Red Sox made it 4-1 when Mike Napoli scored on a double steal in the third. Then Napoli added a solo homer in the fifth on a pitch that was low and away. Napoli did well to take it to the opposite field and over the right field wall.
Jim Johnson delivered two shutout innings to make it two strong outings in a row for him. In the 10th, Ortiz hit a 1-2 pitch from Abad over the wall in left-center to break a 6-6 tie.
At the plate
Jon Lester held the A’s to just one run through the first seven innings. He exited with two men on in the eighth, and Oakland got consecutive two-out RBI singles from Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson and Derek Norris to close to within 6-4.
Then the A’s rallied in the ninth, and craziness ensued.
In the field
The A’s had a shot to cut down Napoli at home on the third-inning double steal. With runners on the corners, Jonathan Herrera got caught in a rundown between first and second. Napoli broke from third, and second baseman Nick Punto’s throw was high, pulling catcher Derek Norris away from the plate. Norris still had a chance at a swipe tag and missed by inches. A more accurate throw could have made the difference.
After Kyle Blanks left in the third with a strained left calf, and after Brandon Moss was pinch-hit for in the eighth, Vogt shifted from right field to first base for the ninth. It marked Vogt’s first big league appearance at the position. Blanks’ availability for Tuesday’s game at New York wasn’t immediately known.
A sellout gathering of 36,067 showed up on Coco Crisp Gnome Day.
The A’s take Monday off and then open up an eight-game road trip with a two-game interleague series against the New York Mets. Tuesday – Scott Kazmir (9-2, 2.08) vs. Bartolo Colon (7-5, 3.88), 4:10 p.m. Wednesday – Brad Mills (0-0, 4.50) vs. Zack Wheeler (3-7, 3.93), 4:10 p.m.