Records Entering Series: BOS (17-2, 1st in AL East), OAK (9-10, 4th in AL West)
The Red Sox were brought back down to Earth over the weekend. After beginning the season 17-2 and tearing through their opponents as if they were playing minor league competition, the Sox were knocked down a peg by the Oakland Athletics.
Oakland took 2 of 3 from Boston in the final series of the Red Sox’ mini West Coast swing, riding dominant starting pitching and timely hitting to the series victory. Sean Manaea was brilliant in game 2, tossing the first no-hitter of the new MLB season, and Daniel Mengden followed up with a gem of his own, going 6.1 innings, allowing just 1 run on 6 hits against the hottest offense in baseball.
Game 1: BOS-7, OAK-3
(Photo credit: ESPN)
Oakland put up 3 against Sox starter Drew Pomeranz right away in the bottom of the 1st. Lowrie drove in Piscotty with a double, Olson drove in Lowrie with a single, and Canha scored Chapman with a single of his own. Boston responded right away, though, in the 2nd.
After Moreland struck out to lead off, Devers and Nunez both reached on singles, and Bradley followed with a bomb to right to make it 3-3. Both starters settled in from there, and the score remained deadlocked until the 6th.
Boston loaded the bases with 3 straight singles by Betts, Benintendi and Ramirez, respectively. Mitch Moreland stepped to the plate next and launched Boston’s 5th grand slam of the year, making it 7-3.
Johnson, Barnes and Kelly combined to close it out from there, and the Red Sox took home their 8th straight victory.
Pomeranz finished with 3.2 IP, 3 runs on 5 hits, 2 walks and 7 K’s. Hector Velazquez earned the win, throwing 3 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits.
Other notable performances include Mitch Moreland (1 HR, 4 RBI), Bradley (1 HR, 3 RBI), Nunez (3 hits) and Ramirez (2 hits).
Game 2: BOS-0, OAK-3
(Photo credit: ESPN)
Sean Manaea dominated the Red Sox bats, logging the MLB’s first no-hitter of the year. Oakland started the scoring in the 1st with a leadoff walk and a Lowrie double that scored Semien. They scored another in the 3rd when Semien crossed home again, this time off of a Piscotty double. Their final run of the night came in the 5th when Semien completed his standout performance with a solo shot to left center.
Boston never threatened Oakland’s lead, sending just 3 batters to base safely off of 2 walks and an error. Sean Manaea was brilliant, using all 3 of his pitches to great effect, particularly his slider, which he threw a season high 22.2% of the time. The Red Sox came close to a hit on just 5 occasions, with a Nunez line out to deep right in the 5th, a Lin line out to deep right in the 6th, and a Betts fly out to deep right in the 9th. There were 2 questionable calls on the night, the 1st being a Leon blooper that dropped in that was ruled an error, and the 2nd being a Benintendi grounder down the 1st base line that he was ruled out on for exiting the base path to avoid the tag.
Chris Sale notched another quality start in the loss, allowing the 3 runs on 6 hits through 7 IP while striking out 10.
Game 3: BOS-1, OAK-4
(Photo credit: ESPN)
Oakland scored in the 1st again, this time from a Davis single that scored Semien. David Price and Oakland starter Daniel Mengden traded scoreless innings from then until the 7th, when Boston tied it up.
Moreland and Devers each singled to lead off the 7th, followed by a Swihart fielder’s choice that forced Moreland out at 3rd. Brock Holt smacked a double to right field that brought home Devers and tied it up at 1-1.
Oakland broke the tie in the 8th when Davis jacked a 3-run home run to left to make it 4-1, which is how it ended.
David Price was very good all the way up until the 8th inning when he gave up that home run to Davis. He ended with 7.2 IP, 4 runs, 9 hits, 6 K’s.
Mitch Moreland recorded 2 hits to lead the offense.
-Oakland is the first team that managed to slow down the Red Sox bats. Whether that’s a trend that will continue will be shown in Toronto later this week.
-Mitch Moreland is now the hottest Red Sox hitter. He’s hitting .467 with 2 HR and 10 RBI over his last 9 games. He’s raised his average all the way to .349 after starting the year very slow.
-The rotation is still pitching very well. Chris Sale was his normal self, David Price was excellent again until the 8th inning yesterday, and Drew Pomeranz was better than his stat line shows.
-Continuing from above, Pomeranz had a pretty decent performance in his first start after returning from the DL. The 3 runs allowed in the 1st looks bad, but he actually made some good pitches that were simply matched by even better hitting. There was obviously some rust, and he struggled with command and velocity at times, but he settled into the game nicely and ended his outing strong.
-It’s easy to forget how big that outfield is at the Oakland Coliseum.
-Although it was shadowed in a bit of controversy, you have to tip your cap to Sean Manaea for his brilliant no-hitter.
-Alex Cora is being legitimately questioned for his managerial decisions for the first time since Opening Day. In the 3rd game of the series, he decided to give Mookie Betts his scheduled day off despite being no-hit the previous day and having an off day today. He also chose to stay with David Price in the 8th inning after Price had allowed 2 singles and with a full bullpen ready to go. Price would give up a 3-run home run before being pulled.