Athletics 5, Red Sox 4, 11 innings
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The Boston Red Sox thought they were exhausted when they got into their Bay Area hotel at dawn Monday after losing two of three to the Yankees.
They had no idea their longest day of the year was just beginning—and that it would end with a 225-minute, 11-inning, improbably dramatic loss to the Oakland Athletics.
Mark Ellis became the sixth Oakland player to hit for the cycle, and Eric Chavez ended it with a two-out homer for the A’s, who recovered from Boston’s ninth-inning rally for a tumultuous 5-4 victory.
Chavez left no doubt on his eighth homer of the season, this one off Kyle Snyder (1-1), ending a game with a homer for just the second time in his career. But there was plenty of doubt before that in Boston’s fourth loss in five games, starting when the Red Sox erased Dan Haren’s outstanding start with a two-run rally in the ninth.
“They did a good job battling,” Ellis said. “We know they got in late last night, but they’re got a lot of pride over there. It’s a great win for us. We persevered and kept fighting. There were plenty of chances to give up.”
Haren dazzled the Red Sox with nine strikeouts during 7 2-3 innings of four-hit ball, but pinch-hitter Jason Varitek and Wily Mo Pena hit run-scoring singles against Alan Embree in the ninth to tie it for Boston.
Ellis then hit for the cycle for the first time in his career, completing it with a broken-bat bloop single in the 10th inning. Ellis hit a two-run triple in the second and a solo homer in the fourth, adding a double in the sixth.
David Ortiz hit his first homer in 19 games and added doubles in the ninth and 10th innings for the Red Sox, who staggered into Oakland after a cross country flight and no rest thanks to a scheduling quirk that annoyed and drained them.
“We lost a heartbreaking game,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “It won’t be heartbreaking (Tuesday). We did a lot of things just to get an extra-inning game on the road. We wiggled out of a few jams. … We did a lot. We just didn’t do enough.”
Santiago Casilla (1-0) earned his first major-league victory for the A’s, who won three straight for the first time since mid-April—and Chavez decided it was time to go home, pausing briefly to admire his homer.
“The way it came off the bat, and the way I’ve been swinging lately, I kind of knew it was going to carry a little bit,” Chavez said.
After Embree blew the save, the A’s loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth—but Boston survived when J.C. Romero struck out Chavez and then induced a 5-2-3 double play on Bobby Crosby’s grounder to Kevin Youkilis, sparking enthusiastic high-fives in front of the pro-Boston fans.
“I kind of felt like I threw away that (at-bat) in the 10th,” Chavez said.
Ortiz, whose double started the ninth-inning rally, hit a two-out double off the top of the center-field wall in the 10th. But Mark Kotsay barehanded it, and the relay throw to Jason Kendall easily cut down Dustin Pedroia, who attempted to score from first.
“It shows the character of this team,” Pedroia said. “A lot of adversity, travel … we’re not going to quit. … (The 10th-inning play) was tough. I didn’t have much of a lead at first, and the ball caromed off the wall pretty good to him. A couple of extra inches further on David’s ball, and it’s a home run.”
Ellis then completed the 17th cycle in A’s history dating to 1901 with his one-out bloop, and he reached third on Shannon Stewart’s groundout. But the Red Sox escaped again when Travis Buck grounded out to first, with Snyder making a sprinting, diving play to cover the bag.
Ellis was the first player to hit for the cycle against the Red Sox since Andre Thornton did it on April 22, 1978.
Way back in the first inning, Ortiz snapped his longest homer drought since joining the Red Sox in 2003, popping Haren’s full-count pitch over the short right-field fence in the first inning.
The powerful designated hitter, who has just 10 homers after hitting a Red Sox-record 54 last season, hadn’t connected since May 9, a span of 19 games and 69 at-bats. He kept producing despite the homer drought, driving in 15 runs during that skid.
Although Haren gave up two homers for the first time all season, he matched his season high in strikeouts and retired 14 straight at one point. He struck out five of the last seven batters he faced before leaving to a standing ovation in what would have been his seventh straight victory.
Embree blew his first save in five chances with Oakland—his first blown save since exactly two years ago, when he was with Boston. … Pedroia was the AL’s Rookie of the Month, and the Woodland, Calif., native celebrated with more than 15 friends and family members in the Coliseum stands. He then extended his career-best hitting streak to 14 games with a 10th-inning single.