Athletics - 000 103 000 - 4 9 1 Red Sox - 000 000 101 - 2 8 0While the Red Sox had runners on base against Brandon McCarthy (6.2-5-1-3-4, 113), they could not get any hits when they truly needed them. Boston was 0-for-13 with runners at second and/or third, and left 11 men on base.
Daniel Bard (5.1-8-4-2-1, 101) fell apart in the sixth inning and, once again, Bobby Valentine was unprepared. Josh Reddick singled to start the inning and with one out Bard allowed back-to-back doubles on fat fastballs to Seth Smith and Kila Ka'aihue. Oakland was ahead 3-0, Bard was at 92 pitches and tumbleweeds were blowing through the Red Sox bullpen. Bob McClure came out for a chat and it was only then that Matt Albers started to warm up. Bard drilled Kurt Suzuki in the left hand with a pitch and allowed another run-scoring double (grooving a fastball pitch to Brandon Inge) before being relieved.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to lead off the seventh, Will Middlebrooks doubled into the right field corner, and Salty scored on Marlon Byrd's fly out to left. Dustin Pedroia had an RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Adrian Gonzalez, representing the tying run, grounded out to third. Gonzalez did not hit the ball out of the infield tonight and is 0 for his last 17. (He also struck out with the bases loaded to end the seventh inning.)
Middlebrooks walked on four pitches in his first major league at-bat, with two outs in the second inning, and promptly stole second. He beat out an infield single to third in the fifth and doubled in the seventh. He struck out swinging in the eighth. He had two chances at third and fielded them both cleanly.
Clayton Mortensen pitched the final three innings for Boston and after allowing a single to his first batter, retiring the next nine: K, K, 3U, 3U, K, K, 3-1, K, K.
Brandon McCarthy / Daniel Bard
UPDATE: Kevin Youkilis has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to last Sunday.
Bobby Valentine says that third baseman Will Middlebrooks is in tonight's starting lineup, making his major league debut. (Sox Prospects has The Book on Middlebrooks.)
The Red Sox have also called up pitcher Clayton Mortensen - just another bullpen arm for a day or two, I presume. ... Peter Abraham notes that since the start of 2009, McCarthy is 7-0, 3.50 in 12 starts against AL East teams.
Since April 23, the Sox bullpen has a 0.74 ERA (2 runs in 24.1 IP). ... Boston's seven games with 10+ runs scored lead the majors and are the most in franchise history through the first 23 games of a season.
Bard is the first Red Sox pitcher to strike out 6+ batters in his first three major league starts since Aaron Sele (June 23-July 5, 1993). The last Boston pitcher to do it in his first four starts was Lynn McGlothen (June 25-July 4, 1972).
And it's Throwback Night - 1936!