Oakland A’s Tony Kemp hits a sacrifice fly that tagged up and scored Seth Brown from third base for the A’s winning run against the Boston Red Sox at the Oakland Coliseum in the bottom of 12th inning (AP News photo)
Boston 6 – 9 – 0
Oakland 7 -15 – 2
By Lewis Rubman
Saturday July 3, 2021
OAKLAND–You would have thought that nothing could match Friday night´s gut wrenching defeat of the Athletics at the hands of the Red Sox for pure baseball agony. You’d have been wrong. Friday was a preliminary bout. Today’s 7-6 win by the comeback kids was the main. event, an 12th round knock out by fighters who would not give up
The contest didn’t start auspiciously for the local team this afternoon.
In the bottom of the second, Rafael Devers showed why he was elected as the A’s all-star third baseman, robbing Laureano of extra bases by throwing Oakland’s speedy center fielder out at first after making a sparkling backhand grab of Ramón’s liner down the line for the second out of the inning.
Things began looking up when Sean Murphy dumped a Texas League single into shallow ccenter field and Seth Brown unloaded a triple off of Boston’s starting pitcher, Garrett Richards. Brown’s blast, which banged against the right centerfield fence, gave Oakland an early one run lead.
The Sox erased that slender lead in the fourth. With one down, Tony Kemp, playing second, muffed Xander Bogaerts’ easy grounder, allowing him to reach base safely on the error. Devers followed that with a hard shot towards Kemp, which ate him up on its way to right and moved Bogaerts up to second.
A moment after Hunter Renfroe took the strike that evened the count on him to 1-1, Murphy sent a pick off throw towards first that ended up in right field. Bogaerts ended up crossing the plate, and Devers got to third.
Hunter Renfroe’s sacrifice fly to Laureano scored Devers, and the A’s early advantage had turned into a one run deficit. Neither tally was earned, which was good for the stats of A’s starter, Cole Irvin, but irrelevant to his task for the day, stopping the streaking invaders from the east.
The run Boston scored in the fifth was earned. With one out, Irvin walked Hernández. Verdugo hit a hard grounder to Kemp, who fumbled it but recovered in time to throw Verdugo out at first while the runner advanced to second. Not only wasn’t that an play an error, but Kemp probaby couldn’t have gotten the ball to Andrus in time to force Hernández. Be that as it may, DJ Martínez singled Hernández home to stretch Boston’s lead to 3-1.
Chapman broke an 0 for 13 dry spell with a lead off single to left in the sixth. Frank Schwindel, who had pinch hit for Mitch Moreand as DH before Moreland made his first plate appearance in the first, rapped a solid double to left that sent Chapman home with the A’s second tally.
It also sent Richards to the shower and brought Hirokazu Sawamura to the mound. When asked after the game why Moreland was pulled from the lineup when he was, all he would say was that it was a for a non-baseball related issue. The A’s skipper also said that he wouldn’t be playing tomorrow
Sawamura came through for the Bosox.He retired Laureano on a grounder to short, walked Murphy, got Brown out on a fly to left, and induced Jed Lowrie, pinch hitting from his weak side, to ground out to short. Josh Taylor succeeded him in the seventh and kept the A’s off the obare, even tough they managed to get runners on the corners with two down before Taylor struck Schwindel out to preserve the lead. He, in turn, gave way to gave way to Yacksel Ríos after finishing his inning of work
Richards ended his day’s work having thrown 92 pitches over five innings. 60 of those offerings were strikes. He allowed two runs, oth earned, on five hits, three walks, and a hit batter and lowered his ERA from 4.96 to 4.88.
Kike Hernández, who’s been having quite a series against the A’s, got that run back for the Red Sox with a two out homer to left that left his bat at 102mph and landed 400 feet away. The pitch had been an 85 mph change of pace. Hernández´s nickname, by the way, is pronounced KEY-kay.
Irvin exited the game after hurling seven full frames. He gave up four runs, only half of them earned. Boston got five hits off him, including Hernández´s home run, and he walked one batter. Of his 98 pitches, 69 were strikes. He brought his ERA down from 3.64 to 3.56. Yusmeiro Petit, who came out to replace Irvin in the eighth, shut Boston down with only a Texas League single by Bogaerts to sully his record.
The A’s got to Ríos in the eightth. Laureano popped out to first, but then Murphy sent a single eto center, and Brown hit the State Farm advertisement above the Kaiser Permanente-DeWalt ad in right center, between the 362 and 388 foot markers. It was an RBI double forBrown, as Murphy crossed the plate.
Boston skipper Alex Cora called on lefty Darwinson Hernández to face the switch hitting Lowrie, now batting from his strong side. He popped to second. In a lefty on leftty match up with Kent, Hernández threw his third ball against one strike. It got past Chrilstian Vázquez for a passed ball, and Brown, representing the potential tying run, was now 90 feet away from home. Hernández threw a second strike to Kemp and then walked him.
The potential leading run now was on the basepaths, and Andrus, who had gone 1 for 2, was at the plate. He came through with a line single to right center. The run was charged to Ríos. Matt Olson then launched a majestic fly to right center that Santana caught just short of the warning track, and the teams went into the ninth tied at four.
As he did last night, BoMel entrusted the delicate situation to Lou Trivino. But today it was the ninth, not the tenth, inning, and the A’s closer didn’t have to contend with a placed runner on second. The Sox tried to put a runner there when Marwin González, hitting for Bobby Dalbec, walked and tried to pilfer the bag. Murphy threw him out, 2-6.
Adam Ottovino, who had gone the save in Friday night’s game, The first batter he saw was Chapman, who singled, making him 3 for 5 on the day. Skye Bolt pinch hit for Schwindel and dropped a beatuiful sacrifice bunt towards first that Ottovino fielded and threw to González, now playing second base and covering on the play. Ottovino proceeded to strike out Laureano on a sinker that home plate umpire Dan Bellino generously called a strike, followed by Murphy’s ground out to third.
Sergio Romo, who had pitched a perfect ninth inning yesterday, was called on to face the top of Boston’s batting order with Santana the placed runner on second.
He fanned Hernández on a 78 mph slider. With Alex Verugo at the plate, Santana tried to steal third. Once more, Murphy cut down potential pilferer, throwing a perfect strike to Chapman at third. Romo went back to the business at hand and struck out Verdugo.
The first thing Brandon Workman did on taking the mound in the bottom of the tenth with Murphy as the placed runner on second was declare a walk to Seth Brown. The second thing he did was surrender a single to Jed Lowrie, which loaded the bases.
Kemp attempted to bunt the winning run home, but he popped out to Workman. Lightening struck twice. Last night, The A´s stopped a runner at third with no outs and then sent him home on an outfield out that resulted in an inning ending double play. They did it again today. This time it was a line drive caught by Martinéz, whose throw caught Murphy at home. Last night, though, it ended the game. Today, it sent the game into the eleventh inning.
Romo stayed on the mound. Verdugo was placed on second. Romo struck Martínez out looking. Bogaerts flew out to Brown in right. And Romo left the game to tumultous applause, replaced by Jake Diekman, who got Devers to fly out to Laureano.
Workman began the eleventh as he did the tenth, with a declared walk, this time to Olson. Chapman sent a fly to the right field warning track that allowed the placed runner, Andrus, to get to third. Witth runers on the corners and the infield playing in, Bolt grounded out to second, and Andrus had to stay on third. Laureano flew out to left, and it was on to the 12th, with JB Wendelken pitching for Oakland.
Devers was the placed runner when Wendelken got the first out, on a foul pop up to Chapman. Vázque managed a single to shallow center that advanced Devers to third and brought up González.
He broke the tie with a single to left that plated Devers and advanced Vázquez to second. Santana flew out to left, bringing up Hernández. He reached out over the plate for an opposite fieeld single to right that just cleared the glove of a leaping Lowrie and drove in Vázquez and sent González to second.
Oakland would have to score twice against the incoming Red Sox hurler, Matt Andriese, to stay alive. They had. a fast runner, Laureano, on second and a powerful but .218 hitter, Murphy, at the plate. Bogaerts couldn’t handle his ground to short, an infield single that put runners on first and second.
Brown followed with a more resounding single, a line drive to left that scored Laureano and sent Murphy to third. Lowrile now was at bat from his weak side. That didn’t keep him from slamming a double to the left center field wall that tied the game and gave Oakland runners on second and third with none out and Tony Kemp at the plate he hit the second pitch he saw for a sacrifice fly to center that scored Brown with the winning run.
Wendelken got the win and now is 1-0, 4.02. Andriese was charged with a blown save and the loss, His record now stands at 2-3, 5.70.
With the win, the Athletics are 49-36, two and a half games behind Houston in the AL West.
Before the game, the A’s announced that right handed rel ef pitcherJeremy Weems had been designated for assignment and that the contract of Sam Moll, a southpaw reliever, had been sold by the Diamondbacks to Oakland, who added him to their active roster.
Oakland will close out the series and their home stand Sunday. James Kaprielian (4-2, 3.06) is scheduled to pitch against Nick Pivetta (6-3, 4.43).