Red Sox - 010 102 100 - 5 10 0 Athletics - 100 000 011 - 3 12 1Terry Francona was in Playoff Assassin mode after Buchholz (5.1-6-1-4-2, 102) loaded the bases in the sixth, giving up a leadoff double and getting squeezed on two one-out walks. Boston was up 4-1, the tying runs were on base, it was raining, and Daniel Bard was coming in to put out the fire.
Bard dispensed with Cliff Pennington on three pitches, striking him out on a 96 mph fastball. Coco Crisp, who had hit a home run on Buchholz's first pitch of the game, lined Bard's 1-0 offering down the left field line. It likely would have cleared the bases and tied the game, but it landed approximately two inches foul. (And NESN quickly cued up the clip of David Murphy's Opening Day pinch-hit two-run double off Bard that landed right on the left field chalk line and scored two runs, dealing the death blow to the Sox that afternoon.) Crisp popped out to shortstop on the next pitch.
That was the game right there. You guys have heard me talk about it time and time again that the game can be won in the sixth or seventh. For me, that was it. He came in and stopped it.Jonathan Papelbon worked out of two separate jams to earn the save. In the eighth, Bobby Jenks had allowed a walk and three consecutive singles; Oakland had cut Boston's lead to 5-2 and still had the bases loaded with two outs. Papelbon promptly struck out David DeJesus, getting him swinging on a splitter after four straight fastballs.
Hideki Matsui singled to began the bottom of the ninth and, one out later, Papelbon hit Mark Ellis. Landon Powell followed with a drive to the right-center field gap. Shemp slipped on the wet grass rounding third and fell down, but he was still able to score easily. Jacoby Ellsbury held Connor to a single and Oakland -- now trailing by two runs -- had runners at first and third, with only one out.
Papelbon got two swinging strikes on pinch-hitter Josh Willingham before retiring him on a pop-up to Adrian Gonzalez in front of the mound. Pennington was next and he popped a 0-1 pitch to Marco Scutaro at shortstop, and the Red Sox won their first road game of the season.
Oakland left 15 men on base, including nine in the last four innings.
Carl Crawford drove in Boston's first run, scoring Kevin Youkilis with a line drive single to left. Youkilis homered to start the fourth, Jed Lowrie hit a two-run dong in the sixth, and J.D. Drew cranked a homer in the seventh.
Clay Buchholz / Gio Gonzalez
Gonzalez has given up only one run in 19 innings (0.47 ERA). However, he has allowed 12 hits and handed out 12 walks for a 1.263 WHIP and a FIP* of 4.17. Plus, he has a very low .216 BABIP. What this means is that Mr. Gonzalez's good luck cannot, and will not, last.
* Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher is specifically responsible for and shows how well he pitched regardless of how his fielders did. Look at it as you would ERA.
The Red Sox are 0-7 on the road this season and have not scored in their last 20 road innings.
0406 at Cle - 020 000 200 - Lost 4-8 0407 at Cle - 000 000 000 - Lost 0-1 0419 at Oak - 000 000 000 - Lost 0-5Boston has scored only 16 runs in those seven road games.
AL East: White Sox/Rays at 6:30 PM; and Twins/Orioles and Yankees/Blue Jays at 7 PM.