Athletics 3, Red Sox 2
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Joe Kennedy has been Oakland’s tough-luck pitcher the first two months. So perhaps it was fitting that a lucky bounce helped give Kennedy his first win in nearly a month.
Kennedy shut down Boston for seven innings, Bobby Crosby drove in two runs after a potential groundout deflected off first base for a double, and the Oakland Athletics handed the Red Sox their season-high fourth straight loss, 3-2 on Wednesday night.
“It’s nice to actually get a win,” Kennedy said after his first victory since May 10. “I keep seeing that wins don’t really mean anything or establish how well you pitch in a game. But it’s always nice to get one.”
The A’s have ridden their strong starting staff to win the first three games of this four-game series, extending their home winning streak over Boston to seven. The games this week have all been close, an extra-inning win Monday, a 2-0 decision Tuesday, followed by the one-run game Wednesday.
Kennedy (2-4) followed up the performances by Dan Haren and Lenny DiNardo, holding Boston scoreless until the seventh inning to win for just the second time in 11 starts this season. He has allowed more than three runs only once all season but has rarely gotten the support he needed to win.
“When I saw him after the game, I said, ‘We finally got you one,”’ Crosby said. “It was good to see that. He pitched so well the whole year. It’s tough to see as a teammate, a guy that has done so well but we can’t score any runs for him. His luck was bound to turn a little bit if he keeps pitching the way he was.”
Kennedy allowed two runs and seven hits and was also helped by three double plays started by third baseman Eric Chavez, giving Boston eight in the previous two games.
The Red Sox finally broke through in the seventh when Kevin Youkilis hit an RBI triple and scored on Wily Mo Pena’s groundout to cut Oakland’s lead to 3-2. Kennedy got out of the inning and three relievers finished it, with Santiago Casilla getting four outs for his first career save.
Boston, which still has the best record in the majors at 37-21, is now on its longest skid since dropping six straight last August, the final three in Oakland.
The losing streak started with a home loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday night, followed by a cross country flight that didn’t get the Red Sox into their Bay Area hotel until 5:30 a.m. Monday. David Ortiz said the travel has sapped some of Boston’s intensity.
“We’re playing well but it’s just not here,” Ortiz said. “We don’t have the intensity we had. That’s my view. We have a lot of guys trying, trying, trying, but can’t come through.”
The frustration boiled over in the eighth inning when manager Terry Francona was ejected by home plate umpire Dan Iassogna for arguing balls and strikes.
Oakland has its starting pitchers to thank for a season-high five-game winning streak. A’s starters are now 6-1 with a 1.29 ERA in the first nine games of this 10-game homestand, helping Oakland move a season-best four games over .500.
The A’s took advantage of a lucky bounce to score three times in the fourth inning. Chavez’s one-out grounder hit first base and bounced over Youkilis into right field for a double.
“Things aren’t going our way,” Youkilis said. “That’s the kind of stuff that happens. There’s not much you can do about it. You just have to bounce back.”
Cust, who had only one RBI in his last 13 games, scored Chavez on a two-out double. Crosby, who had six hits in his previous 40 at-bats, added a two-run single to make it 3-0.
“I had Crosby 1-2 and I tried to bury a hard one in the dirt but I left it up,” Wakefield said. “It’s tough when one pitch makes the difference. I make a bad pitch and they get two extra runs.”
Wakefield’s knuckleball had Oakland fooled most of the rest of the night. He struck out a season-high eight batters in 6 2-3 innings, allowing three runs and seven hits. Wakefield has lost four of his last five starts with a 7.98 ERA.
Evan O’Dorney, the 13-year-old from Danville, Calif., who won the Scripps National Spelling Bee last week, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … The A’s, who rank second-to-last in the AL in steals, stole four bases against Wakefield and backup C Doug Mirabelli—their most in a game since May 4, 2001, also against Boston. … The Red Sox have hit into at least three double plays in a game four times in six games this month. … Kennedy’s six strikeouts were one more than he had in his previous four starts combined.
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