For the first time this season, the Boston Red Sox have lost two straight games. As unfortunate as that may be, they are still 17-4 and finished the west coast portion of their road trip at 4-2. Regardless of how they got there, 4-2 on the road ain’t too shabby. With three games left on the trip in Toronto, finishing at either 7-2 or 6-3 would be more than exceptional.
Anyway, David Price made his sixth start of the season in this one, and he was great up until the eighth inning. The lefty held the Athletics to one run on six hits and a walk while striking out five. That one run came on a Khris Davis RBI single in the bottom half of the first. Other than that, not too much to complain about from Price over the first seven innings, because not only was he effective, he was efficient with his pitch count as well. By the time he departed with two outs in the eighth, he was only at 96 pitches, 68 of which went for strikes.
How he got to his departure from this game isn’t all that effective. With the game tied at one, Price retired the first batter he saw in the bottom of the eighth, and followed that up by allowing back to back singles. After striking out Jed Lowrie for the second out of the inning, Khris Davis struck once again as he took things into his own hands, taking the very first pitch of his at bat, an 87 MPH slider from Price, and blasting it 388 feet into the steps in right field.
Davis knew it was gone, Price knew it was gone, and just like that the Athletics were up by three runs, which is all they needed to lock up the win.
Carson Smith came in for mop up duty after the homer, and he retired the only batter he faced on two pitches.
Offensively, the Red Sox lineup had a better day than they did on Saturday. Unfortunately, that’s not saying much because they only scored one run.
That one run came in the top of the seventh on a Brock Holt RBI double. It looked like it was going to be meaningful at the time since it tied the game with one out, but they had some other chances and could not capitalize on them.
Credit to Athletics starting pitching for the second day in a row. He didn’t toss a no-hitter, but Daniel Mengden was solid. He allowed just that one run in 6.1 innings pitched, scattering six hits, striking out five, and walking no one. The Athletics bullpen was also pretty solid as they held the Red Sox scoreless in just less than three innings pitched.
The last chance the Red Sox had to tie or win this thing came in the ninth with two outs and Brock Holt on first after he reached on a fielding error. With Christian Vazquez at the plate and Mookie Betts, who would be pinch-hitting for Tzu-Wei Lin, on deck, it looked like they had a decent chance to take this thing to the bottom of the ninth. On the eighth pitch of the at bat, Vazquez popped up to shallow right field, and it almost fell through.
Luckily for the Athletics, they avoided a potential disaster with Mookie Betts looming and picked up their 11th win of the season.
That marks the first time the Red Sox have lost a series in seven tries to start the year. Like I said earlier, next up is the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto, who just dropped three out of four to the Yankees in New York. After a travel day on Monday, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball in the opener against Jays lefty J.A. Happ. Rogers Centre is certainly more of a launch pad than the Coliseum in Oakland, so maybe the Red Sox bats will wake up a bit this coming week. First pitch for that game on Tuesday is 7:07 PM, back to normal.