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Lineups from Oakland finale
Posted by Sean McAdam at 3:01 PM | Permalink
Late Saturday night notes
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Despite Saturday night's loss, Josh Beckett struck out nine and now has five or more strikeouts in each of his last 15 starts. That's the longest streak for a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez fanned five or more in 14 straight outings from July 1-Sept. 14, 2004.
-- Jacoby Ellsbury saw his hitting streak snapped at five with an 0-for-4 night, but made a spectacular, diving catch on Jack Hannahan for the first Oakland out of the night. The grab came one pitch after Ellsbury had chased down a foul pop-up in the Oakland bullpen, only to have the ball just squirt away from his glove. On the next pitch, Ellsbury chased after a sinking liner and, extending his glove hand, made the sprawling catch.
-- Including the two games played in Tokyo this March, the Sox are 4-10 in their last 14 road games against the A's.
Posted by Sean McAdam at 12:31 AM | Permalink
A's 3, Red Sox 0: Sox on fast track to another road loss
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. – Sure, Major League Baseball would like teams to speed up the time of games. But ever since the enforcement began in earnest Friday, the Red Sox have been just a little too cooperative.
Without much of a fight, the Red Sox went down 3-0 Saturday night, one-hit by the Oakland A’s in just 2:17, the quickest game they've played this season. Justin Duchscherer, a former Red Sox prospect dealt to Texas for Doug Mirabelli seven years ago, no-hit them into the seventh inning before David Ortiz spoiled the bid with a one-out single.
That was the only hit the Sox mustered for the evening off Duchscherer (eight innings) and reliever Huston Street. Together, the A’s faced just two batters over the minimum and didn’t allow a baserunner to get into scoring position.
On Friday, the start of their 10-game road trip, the Sox also lost and did so in a hurry, with the game lasting just 2:27. Last night’s loss was Boston’s sixth in a row on the road, sandwiched around a perfect 7-0 homestand.
The setback saw the Tampa Bay Rays climb to within a half-game of the Sox in the American League East.
The game marked the second time in the last year that the Sox and A’s had been involved in a one-hitter at McAfee Coliseum. Last June, Red Sox starter Curt Schilling no-hit the A’s for the first 8 2/3 innings before Shannon Stewart spoiled the day with a single with just one out to go.
Duchscherer, who retired the first 15 hitters on the night before plunking Jason Varitek to open the sixth, didn’t get nearly that close. Still, he carried the no-hitter into the seventh.
"I tried not to think about it too much," he said. "But it’s hard not to think about when you have six no-hit innings and three to go."
Ortiz sliced a line single to right-center to thwart the no-hit effort, but didn’t advance any further. Kevin Youkilis flied to the warning track in right and Mike Lowell flied to right.
"It was a little deflating," said Duchscherer of the Ortiz single, which came with the A's holding a 1-0 lead. "But I knew the guy on base was the tying run and the guy at the plate was the winning run, so I just tried to stay focused."
"He kept us off-balance all night," Lowell said of Duchscherer. "He really didn’t miss over the middle (of the plate); he worked the corners and didn’t give in."
The one-hitter was the first tossed against the Red Sox since Seattle’s Felix Hernandez did so on April 11, 2007, beating them 3-0. Hernandez will start Monday night for the Mariners at Safeco Field in the series opener between the Sox and Seattle.
Duchscherer’s effort trumped the start made by Josh Beckett, who limited the A’s to two runs over seven innings while striking out nine.
The A’s nicked him for a run in the second on a leadoff double by Mark Sweeney, a sacrifice bunt and a fielder’s choice. A solo homer from Ryan Sweeney in the seventh doubled the Oakland margin, but was the only other run off Beckett.
But with no backing, Beckett was fighting a losing cause.
"It took a performance like Duchschrerer’s to beat us," said Lowell. "This was kind of a hard (loss) because Josh pitched well enough to win today."
"He was a lot better," said Beckett, now 5-4, of Duchscherer. "But somebody has to lose. We don’t have a lot of nights (where the Sox are shut down). I don’t think anybody in here has a right to complain about run support. Usually, there’s plenty of it."
Not so far on this road trip. After averaging 5.5 runs per game in their six road defeats on the last road trip, the Sox have scored just three runs in the first 18 innings of this one and are hitting a collective .117 for the two games.
Of course, credit should go to Duchscherer, too.
"He commanded every pitch he threw tonight," said Terry Francona. "I don’t remember him throwing one pitch without a purpose. He just commanded everything."
The last Oakland run came off reliever Manny Delcarmen in the eighth.
Street, meanwhile, pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save of the season.
Posted by Sean McAdam at 12:27 AM | Permalink