Gonzalez looks to keep Red Sox off the board


Gonzalez looks to keep Red Sox off the board

April 20, 2011

BOSTON (5-11) vs.
A's (9-8)

Coverage begins at 12:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

OAKLAND (AP) -- If a team is seeking an encore for a shutout, sending to the mound a pitcher riding a 17-inning scoreless streak isn't a bad way to do it.

That's just what the Oakland Athletics will do Wednesday afternoon, when Gio Gonzalez tries to pitch them to a two-game sweep of a Boston Red Sox club still seeking its first road win.

Oakland's .236 team batting average and 3.7 runs per game wouldn't normally be a recipe for victory, but the A's are 9-8 thanks to a major league-leading 2.44 staff ERA. Two of their starters - the same pair Boston (5-11) is facing in this series - boast ERAs below two.

Oakland starters have allowed just one earned run over their last five games - spanning 33 2-3 innings.

"It's fun when we're going good like that," said Brett Anderson, Tuesday's starter and winner. "We want to feed off each other and keep putting up zeros."

Anderson limited the Red Sox to four singles and one walk over eight innings of Oakland's series-opening 5-0 victory, lowering his ERA to 1.63. As impressive as that mark is, it's more than triple that of Gonzalez (2-0, 0.47 ERA), a 25-year-old left-hander who finished with 15 wins and a 3.23 ERA last season but may now be taking his game to a new level.

REWIND: Anderson's gem gives A's win over Boston

Gonzalez has thrown six shutout innings in each of his last two starts to extend his scoreless streak to 17. Five days after allowing four hits in a 1-0 win at Minnesota, he held Detroit to two hits Thursday but received no run support in a game Oakland eventually lost 3-0.

While he didn't beat the Tigers, he still impressed Detroit manager Jim Leyland.

"Their guy is really good," Leyland told the A's official website. "He has a good, loose arm, a live fastball and a good curve. I've seen him before, but that's as good as I've seen him."

If Gonzalez has a weakness, it may be control. He walked six and threw two wild pitches against the Tigers, and has issued 12 free passes in 19 innings this season.

Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis is 4 for 8 against Gonzalez.

Youkilis has been cold this April, though, batting .196 after an 0-for-4 effort with two strikeouts in the series opener. The Red Sox appeared to be heating up after concluding a nine-game homestand with three straight wins over Toronto, but suffered their second consecutive 1-0 road loss Tuesday.

The Red Sox are 0-7 on the road for the first time in franchise history, due largely to a .179 team batting average away from Fenway Park.

"We'll be all right," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "We might be the first team to lose our first seven on the road and win the next seven, who knows."

They haven't supported Wednesday's starter Clay Buchholz (0-2, 6.60) very well, totaling five runs for him in his three starts. However, Buchholz is still struggling to find the form he showed in a breakthrough 2010 season, when he finished 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA.

The right-hander allowed only three hits over five innings Friday, but walked five and yielded three runs while not earning a decision in a 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays.

Two of Buchholz's worst outings last season came at Oakland, where he went 0-2 and gave up 10 runs in five innings.

A's catcher Kurt Suzuki is 4 for 7 with a double off Buchholz, while designated hitter Hideki Matsui is 6 for 14 with three walks.

Dodgers add to riches, acquire Mets slugger in trade


Dodgers add to riches, acquire Mets slugger in trade

NEW YORK — The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired outfielder Curtis Granderson and cash from the New York Mets for a player to be named later or cash.

The teams announced the deal after their games Friday night. The 36-year-old Granderson is hitting .228 with 19 home runs and 52 RBIs this year.

Los Angeles is running away with the NL West. The Dodgers are 86-34 after Friday's win at Detroit . Granderson gives Los Angeles another option for the outfield along with Cody Bellinger, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor and Joc Pederson.

Pederson has been struggling quite a bit of late, hitting .149 since the All-Star break. Granderson, like Pederson, offers some power from the left side of the plate.

Giants pound Phillies in blowout win, Moore pitches into eighth

Giants pound Phillies in blowout win, Moore pitches into eighth


SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Moore took his time walking off the mound after Giants manager Bruce Bochy came out to replace him in the eighth inning.

Moore wanted to enjoy the ovation from the crowd at AT&T Park, something he hadn't heard for quite some time.

Moore took a one-hitter into the eighth inning and picked up his first win in nearly two months as San Francisco beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-2 on Friday night.

"It's something that I think is one of the coolest parts about playing here, is just how loud it can get and the appreciation coming off the hill," Moore said. "It was definitely nice to have that."

Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford both homered, Pablo Sandoval had an RBI single and Denard Span added three hits and made a nice running catch in center field to help San Francisco to its ninth win in the last 12 games at AT&T Park.

One day after becoming the first team in major league history to reach 11,000 wins as a franchise, the Giants added on by beating the worst team in baseball again.

Moore (4-12) was crisp in his second straight strong start despite four walks, allowing two hits over 7 1/3 innings to win for the first time since June 20.

"He's got a good rhythm going," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It looks like he's playing catch with (catcher Buster Posey), that's the effort he's putting in it right now. I think it's helped his command on all his pitches."

Moore credited a calmer approach in his last two starts.

"For a lot of the season I was overthrowing," Moore said. "It's just too much to be gritting that much through. After the break that was something I was working on, making sure I'm not white-knuckling too much stuff."

Four relievers combined for five outs to complete the four-hitter.

Jorge Alfaro singled twice and scored for Philadelphia.

Pence doubled and scored as part of a three-run first inning, then hit his 11th home run in the second.

Crawford tacked on with a two-run home run in the third, his 10th, after Sandoval walked. Crawford, who also doubled in the eighth, had been in a 2-for-22 slump.

Philadelphia didn't get a runner past second base until the eighth when Freddy Galvis singled in both runs.

"We got four hits (and) Alfaro had two of them," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "The bats just ain't there right now."


Starting pitcher Zach Eflin (1-5) allowed six runs and seven hits over five innings for the Phillies and later complained of tightness in his right shoulder. Eflin has lost two of three starts since a two-month stint in the minors. "As the fifth inning came to an end it was more of a precautionary thing to come out because it wasn't feeling right at that point," Eflin said.


Posey has hit safely in 20 straight games against Philadelphia, the longest hitting streak of his career against any team.


Phillies: Mackanin's ballclub was one player short after the team placed OF Odubel Herrera on the disabled list with a hamstring injury in a move that is retroactive to Aug. 15. Herrera has a 17-game hitting streak that is the longest active in the majors. A corresponding move is expected before Saturday's game.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto threw 50 pitches in a bullpen session and could begin a rehab assignment early next week. Cueto also threw a 50-pitch bullpen during the team's recent three-game series in Miami. ... 1B Brandon Belt (concussion) and 2B Joe Panik (concussion symptoms) both did cardio work before the game.


Phillies RHP Jerad Eickoff (3-7, 4.45 ERA) makes his second start against the Giants this season Saturday while San Francisco counters with LHP Ty Blach (8-8, 4.37 ERA). Blach blanked Philadelphia with a seven-hitter on June 2.