A's offense looks to remain hot vs. Lackey, Sox

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A's offense looks to remain hot vs. Lackey, Sox

April 19, 2011

BOSTON (5-10) vs.
A's (8-8)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on CSN Plus

OAKLAND (AP) -- The Oakland Athletics' offense has stepped up over the last two games, and John Lackey looks to slow it down - much like he has throughout his career.

Lackey takes the mound Tuesday night when the Boston Red Sox visit Oakland to start a two-game set.

NEWS: Spotlight on the Red Sox

The right-hander has beaten the Athletics more than any other team, going 17-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 31 career starts.

However, Lackey (1-1 15.58 ERA) struggled in his first two starts of 2011, allowing 15 runs in 8 2-3 innings. He gave up six runs in five innings April 8 in Boston's 9-6 win against the New York Yankees, and manager Terry Francona opted to skip his turn in the rotation after Thursday's game against Tampa Bay was rained out.

Opponents are hitting .395 against Lackey, but pitching coach Curt Young believes he'll be ready to go despite the long layoff.

"He's a guy that has great command, great aptitude for pitching, and like I said, he knows Tuesday will be here in a hurry," Young told MLB.com. "Ten days feels like a long time when you're a starting pitcher like that, but he's a guy that has such great command, I don't think there should be any issues."

The Red Sox (5-10) will be looking for their fourth straight victory after beating Toronto 9-1 on Monday in their best offensive performance of the season. Boston pounded out a season-high 13 hits, led by Jed Lowrie's 4-for-5, four-RBI outing.

NEWS: MLB standings

Lowrie, who is 8 for 14 with two homers and seven RBIs during Boston's win streak after being inserted into the starting lineup, downplayed his torrid hitting.

"You don't think about it," said Lowrie, who is 9 for 28 (.321) with 10 RBIs lifetime versus the A's. "You just continue to do what you're doing and go out there and just let it happen."

Oakland (8-8) got a boost from its offense over the weekend, scoring 11 runs in victories Saturday and Sunday against Detroit.

Josh Willingham drove in two runs and Mark Ellis doubled twice in Sunday's 5-1 win, giving the Athletics two straight home wins after losing four of their first five in Oakland.

REWIND: Cahill dominant for A's in win over Tigers

"Big offense, up and down the lineup," manager Bob Geren said. "Great win going into the off-day. Just a nice way to finish off the weekend."

However, the offense has provided little for left-hander Brett Anderson (0-1, 2.29 ERA) in his three starts, giving him three total runs of support in his 19 2-3 innings pitched. He allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday and left trailing 3-1 before Oakland rallied for a 7-4, 10-inning win.
REWIND: Stunning late rally lifst A's over White Sox

Anderson has been solid versus Boston, going 3-1, 2.61 ERA lifetime. After losing his first career start against the Red Sox, he's 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA and 24 strikeouts in the last four.

Anderson and Lackey faced each other Sept. 11, with Anderson earning a 4-3 victory. Lackey allowed three runs in seven innings, while Anderson also pitched seven and yielded two.

Oakland has won four of the last five meetings.

Barry Bonds predicts he can still smash Splash Hit: 'Without a doubt'

Barry Bonds predicts he can still smash Splash Hit: 'Without a doubt'

Barry Bonds stepped into Giants' broadcast booth with Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow during the top of the third inning Sunday and Kuiper immediately brought up the shape Bonds is in at 52 years old. 

"Still think you can play, probably?" Kuiper asked Bonds. 

After giving Kuiper the look, Bonds replied, "About an inning or two."

Moments later, the cameras moved to McCovey Cove past the right field wall at AT&T Park where Bonds famously hit home runs deep into the water. Of the 73 Splash Hits off Giants bats into the cove, Bonds is responsible for 35 of them. 

Now an avid cyclist who still picks up a bat from time to time, Bonds is fully confident that number would rise if he stepped into the batter's box again. 

"I promise you I will," Bonds replied when Krukow asked if he could still hit home runs into the water. "Without a doubt." 

Krukow predicted Bonds would need 10 swings to get it done. Bonds says he might need just a few more.

"Well it would take me eight swings to get warmed up, three pop ups and then I'd get it," he said with a laugh. 

During spring training this year, Bonds joined the Giants as a special instructor. And he proved his claim of more Splash Hits could certainly be true as he showed off his legendary swing and cracked balls over the wall in Scottsdale

Bonds hit his final home run of his career, No. 762, on Sept. 5, 2007 on the road against the Rockies in a 5-3 Giants win. The Giants are adding Bonds to their Wall of Fame on July 8. 

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

BOX SCORE

The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.