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The Oakland Athletics defeated the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night 3-2 after Alfredo Aceves could not close out the bottom of the ninth.
Last night, the A’s and Red Sox found themselves locked in a pitcher’s duel behind starters Bartolo Colon and Jon Lester. There was minimal offense to speak of throughout the first eight innings. Coco Crisp started the game off for the A’s with a homerun to left field, giving them the early 1-0 lead in the first inning. In the top of the second, Jarrod Saltalamacchia answered back, blasting his 16th homerun of the year into right-center field to tie the score at 1-1.
Both pitchers found themselves cruising through this game. Colon had one hiccup in the fourth inning. David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez singled to center and right field respectively. Saltalamacchia then hit a sharp ground ball which hit off of Oakland first baseman Chris Carter, which allowed Ortiz to score giving the Sox the 2-1 lead.
It seemed that one run would be all the Sox needed as Jon Lester was absolutely dominant. However, in the ninth inning with closer Alfredo Aceves on the mound, the A’s mounted a comeback. Chris Carter and Cliff Pennington both hit singles to put runners on first and second with one out. Brandon Moss then hit a single of his own to score Carter and move Pennington to third base. The Moss single tied the game at 2-2. Coco Crisp then hit a sacrifice fly to center fielder Ryan Kalish, which was able to score the game winning run in Pennington. The A’s were able to claim game two of this west coast series as Alfredo Aceves simply couldn’t close the game out.
Lately Jon Lester has started to come into his own, and last night was another case of the Sox offense not showing up for their ace. Lester went 6.2 innings, allowed only four hits, one earned run, walked only one batter, and struck out nine. He showed fantastic control of his pitches, and was using his change-up as a strike-out pitch. The increased use of the change-up is a great sign as it compliments his fastball and cutter well, allowing him to keep the batter guessing on what pitch will come with two strikes.
Last night the Red Sox left seven men on base, and even worse than that they were 0-8 with runners in scoring position. To say this offense has gone cold on this road trip is a complete understatement. If the Sox had any offensive output in the series against Seattle they could have easily had a sweep. In the two games against Oakland and the four against Seattle, the Red Sox offense is a pathetic 4-41 with runners in scoring position. After the offense had appeared to click on the homestand, they seem completely out of sync on the road. The upcoming all-star break can’t come soon enough for the Red Sox, as it is apparent they could use some time off to figure out what is going on with their bats, or lack thereof.