Oakland Athletics starting pitchers have struggled at Fenway Park this season - with one notable exception.
The Red Sox (58-41) are an AL-best 34-16 at home, where they are averaging 5.6 runs per game. They’ve totaled 26 runs in their last four games there against Oakland, with the Athletics starting pitcher giving up four runs or more in each of those contests.
It was a different story, though, in the first meeting at Fenway in 2009. Anderson (5-8, 4.32 ERA) flummoxed the Red Sox on July 6, allowing two singles and two walks and striking out a career-high nine in Oakland’s 6-0 victory. The 21-year-old left-hander remains the only pitcher to throw a shutout against Boston this season.
“It was a complete game in this ballpark against that team,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “It’s obviously very special for anybody, especially somebody of his age.”
Anderson didn’t have nearly as good results last Friday at Yankee Stadium, giving up four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings of Oakland’s 8-3 defeat. That loss was one of four in the first five games of this road trip for the A’s, but they rallied from a four-run deficit Tuesday night and eventually won 9-8 in 11 innings.
Rajai Davis(notes) singled home Mark Ellis(notes) to tie the game in the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon(notes), and did it again in the 11th off loser Manny Delcarmen(notes) to help Oakland (42-57) avoid falling 17 games below .500 for the first time since 1997.
Ellis had four hits, four runs scored and two doubles - all season highs - while Adam Kennedy(notes) had a career-high five hits and drove in three runs. Oakland’s four infielders alone combined for 13 hits, more than the entire team had mustered in any of the first four games of the trip.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, blew a four-run lead en route to their seventh loss in 10 games, squandering a chance to slice into their 2 1/2-game AL East deficit to the Yankees. Kevin Youkilis(notes) and J.D. Drew(notes) both went 3 for 5 in the defeat.
Boston will try to bounce back behind Brad Penny(notes) (7-4, 4.71), who ended a personal five-start winless drought in last Friday’s 3-1 victory over Baltimore. The right-hander limited the Orioles to one unearned run and five hits over six innings, striking out four without walking a batter.
Though Penny has been the subject of rampant trade speculation approaching Friday’s deadline, Boston may want to keep him around with veterans Tim Wakefield(notes) and Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes) on the disabled list and John Smoltz(notes) struggling.
“I’ve had Penny in my office numerous times telling him how much we like him,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I just wanted to reassure him that’s not how we felt. We weren’t cleaning him up to get rid of him.”
Penny’s only previous outing against Oakland came in 2003, a 13-2 win for Florida in which he gave up one run over seven innings.