The Oakland Athletics got the offensive output they needed against a tough left-handed starting pitcher in Jon Lester. They ended up falling just short in a 6-5 loss to the Red Sox after Brett Anderson melted down in the fourth and fifth innings.
With lefties Anderson and Lester on the mound, this game had the makings of a pitcher's duel. It ended up a battle of bats and bullpens.
The A's finished their East Coast road trip 1-5 and couldn't be heading back to Oakland soon enough.
At the Plate
Chris Young got the scoring started when he gave the A's a 3-0 lead by driving a Lester curveball into the seats atop The Green Monster. Young's third homer of the season was a no-doubter. Young needed that. He was hitting .113 over his previous 13 games and had only collected one hit against a left-handed pitcher this season prior to his homer.
Later in the game, Young crushed a solo home run way over The Monster. The ball left the ballpark and ended up in a parking lot. This is the 11th time Young has hit more than one home run in a game. His second home run made it a one-run game.
The A's threatened in the sixth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs. It was enough to get Lester out of the game, but Coco Crisp flew out to left field to end the inning.
In the seventh inning the A's pulled within two runs of the Red Sox. Jed Lowrie reached base on a two-out double and Josh Donaldson drove him home with an opposite field single to make it a 6-4 game.
Down 6-5, the A's couldn't score in the ninth inning against Red Sox closer and former Athletic Andrew Bailey. Lowrie hit what looked like a two-out double, but the umpires ruled it a foul ball. The ball was interfered with by a fan, but replays showed it did indeed land foul. He ended up striking out to end the game.
Starting Pitching Report
Anderson didn't make it out of the fifth inning. He allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks. It was a flukey start for the A's' ace. Anderson got off to a great start. He only allowed one hit over three scoreless innings with four strikeouts.
In the next two frames he fell apart. He allowed six runs on seven hits. It all started when the A's got a 3-0 lead. Anderson couldn't get the shutdown inning. David Ortiz and Mike Napoli hit back-to-back one-out doubles to put the Red Sox on the board. Ortiz hit a ball off the top of The Green Monster, and Seth Smith made a strong throw that beat Ortiz to second, but the umpire ruled that he was safe.
After walking Jonny Gomes, and getting Will Middlebrooks to ground into a fielder's choice, Anderson allowed a game-tying two-run triple to former Athletic Stephen Drew.
On both of the RBI hits, Anderson fell behind in the count.
In the fifth inning, Anderson allowed four consecutive hits without recording an out. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single and stole second base, before Shane Victorino ripped an RBI-double down the third base line past a diving Josh Donaldson. Dustin Pedroia followed with an infield single and Ortiz drove in his second run of the game with a hit that Donaldson made another diving attempt on.
That would end Anderson's day. He exited the game down 5-3.
Chris Resop entered in relief of Anderson. He hit Napoli with an inside fastball to load the bases. Daniel Nava followed with a pinch-hit single to make it a 6-3 game.
Resop recorded one out before A's manager Bob Melvin summoned the A's resident escape artist, Jerry "Houdini" Blevins. The lanky lefty struck out Drew with the bases still loaded and got David Ross to fly out to right field to end the threat.
Blevins pitched a perfect sixth inning and got the first out of the seventh. Pat Neshek relieved Blevins and finished the inning.
Grant Balfour made his first appearance in a week and walked two batters, but pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
In the Field
Andy Parrino made a great play to throw out Ellsbury in the third inning. He ranged far to his right on a ball hit up the middle and made a backhanded play and an off-balance throw to first to get the speedy runner.
In the fifth inning, Donaldson saved a run by knocking down a hot shot by Dustin Pedroia. The A's third baseman couldn't hold onto the ball, but he did stop it in it's tracks. Earlier, Donaldson landed awkwardly on his left shoulder diving for a hard-hit ball down the third base line that ended up being a Victorino double.
The Red Sox announced an attendance of 29,074.
The A's head home to start a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles. Here are the pitching probables.
RHP Jarrod Parker (0-3, 7.50) vs. RHP Jason Hammel (2-1, 4.74)
LHP Tommy Milone (3-1, 4.26) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (1-2, 3.38)
RHP A.J. Griffin (2-1, 4.50) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (0-1, 5.23)
RHP Bartolo Colón (3-0, 2.42) vs. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 4.13)