Athletics - 100 400 000 - 5 10 0 Red Sox - 000 100 002 - 3 7 0The Red Sox's ninth-inning rally fell short, as they left the potential tying runs on first and second.
Felix Doubront (4-6-5-2-8, 94) assured himself of an early exit on a soggy night by throwing 30 pitches in the first inning and 20 in the second. After a quick third, he threw 32 more pitches in the fourth, when Oakland scored four times. Cliff Pennington had an RBI double and Jemile Weeks singled in two more (and took second on a throw to the plate, stole third, and scored on a wild pitch).
Boston had very little success against Jarrod Parker (6.2-4-1-2-4, 98). Dustin Pedroia singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth, took second on a wild pitch, and came around to score on two groundouts. The Red Sox had runners at first and second with one out in the fifth, but Mike Aviles was caught looking and Ryan Sweeney flied to left. Cody Ross (3-for-4) doubled to start the seventh, but never made it to third base.
Ross began the ninth with a double off Grant Balfour. Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out looking as the zone suddenly expanded; strikes two and three were clearly outside. After Marlon Byrd singled, Balfour lost the strike zone, giving Nick Punto his third pass of the night (loading the bases) and falling behind Aviles 3-0. Aviles eventually lined a full-count pitch to center for a two-run single.
Kevin Youkilis was seen on the top step of the dugout, a possible pinch-hitter for LHB Lars Anderson, but when Oakland brought in lefty Jordan Noberto, Yook did not hit. Anderson struck out, and Pedroia grounded into a fielder's choice for the final out.
Oakland stole four bases: Josh Reddick, Kila Ka'aihue, Weeks, and Pennington all stole third. (Ka'aihue was actually thrown out but an out-of-position Phil Cuzzi blew an easy call.)
Anderson is on his way back to Pawtucket, but the corresponding move (probably Aaron Cook) has not been announced.
Jarrod Parker / Felix Doubront
Aviles, SSDoubront has been Boston's top starting pitcher, according to xFIP (3.61), though he's still throwing too many pitches per inning and walking too many batters (4.1 per 9 IP). This will be his fifth start.
Parker, a 23-year-old right-hander, is making his third major league start/appearance. After missing 2010 recovering from TJ surgery, Parker debuted for Arizona in G161 last year. His second start came last Wednesday against the White Sox. Parker was #50 on Baseball Prospectus's Top 100 Prospects for 2012.
David Ortiz reached base in 20 of his 22 April games and finished the month with a 1.184 OPS (.405/.457/.726), making a strong case for AL Player of the Month. Flo also hit .543 (19-for-35) at Fenway Park in April (helped by a ridiculous (and unsustainable) .536 batting average on balls in play). Ortiz batted .600 (12-for-20) when leading off an inning, and in his first plate appearance of the game, he was 12-for-19 (.632!).
Gordon Edes has a nice wrap-up of April.