Oakland A’s starter James Kaprielian pitches to the Boston Red Sox line up in the first inning at Fenway Park in Boston Wed May 12, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Oakland A’s (23-15) sent James Kaprielian to the Hill Wednesday night to face the Boston Red Sox (22-16). Kaprielian was making his first Major League start. The young man from Southern California had his family in attendance, and he had to have some butterflies in his stomach at the start of the game.
The Red Sox welcomed him by scoring a run in the first inning. Kaprielian worked his way out of a jam and threw about 30 pitches in the frame. He settled down and kept the Red Sox off the board the next four innings. The A’s offense put four unanswered runs on the board, and James won his first game in the big leagues.
The Red Sox drew first blood in the bottom of the first. Marwyn Gonzalez, who loves to hit against the A’s, got things going with a double to right field. Kaprielian walked Alex Verdugo and gave up a single to J.D. Martinez. The Red Sox had the bases loaded with no out and the chance for a big inning. Kaprielian retired the next two hitters. He walked Christian Vasquez to force in a run. Hunter Renfroe struck out to end the inning. Boston led 1-0 after one inning of play.
The A’s tied the game in the top of the fourth. With two out, Stephen Piscotty singled. Sean Murphy doubled to drive in Piscotty. The A’s scored two more in the top of the fifth. Mitch Moreland singled to start the rally. A’s shortstop Elvis Andrus doubled to center to send Moreland to third.
Jed Lowrie grounded out 6-3. Moreland scored on the play, Andrus advanced to third. Andrus scored when Eduardo Rodriguez committed a balk. The A’s led 3-1 midway through the fifth inning. Oakland added a run in the top of the seventh when Matt Olson blasted his eighth of the year.
A’s manager Bob Melvin turned the pitching chores over to his bullpen after the fifth inning. Burch Smith pitched two perfect innings. With Lou Trivino pitching in the eighth, the Red Sox mounted a threat. With one out and men on at second and third, Red Sox catcher Christian Vasquez grounded out to Lowrie who threw to Olson.
Xander Bogaerts committed a baserunning blunder as he tried to score from third on the play. A’s first baseman, Matt Olson, threw home to nail Bogaerts trying to score. The A’s led 4-1 after eight complete.
The A’s summoned lefty Jake Diekman from the bullpen to close out the game in the ninth. Jake retired the Red Sox 1-2-3 to preserve the win for Kaprielian.
Game Notes: With the win, the A’s are now 23-15 for the year. The Red Sox are 22-16.
Kaprielian worked five innings and allowed one run and four hits. He struck out six and walked three. Kaprielian’s father was in attendance to watch his son start his first game in the Majors. The A’s acquired James in a trade with the Yankees in 2017. The trade sent Sonny Gray to New York. The Yankees picked Kaprielian in the first round of the 2016 draft. Kaprielian missed two years of playing time due to arm injuries.
The A’s will be attempting to sweep the Red Sox on Thursday. The A’s pitching shut down the vaunted Boston offense allowing them three runs in the first two games of the series.
The A’s will send Sean Manaea to the hill on Thursday. Manaea was outstanding in his last performance. Garrett Richards will pitch for Boston.
The game will start at 4:10 pm on Thursday.