First the good news: Brett Anderson pitched a great game today; going seven innings, allowing just five hits, two runs, two walks, and five strikeouts. His only real mistake pitch was the two-out homer to Mike Lowell after Bay had singled in the second inning.
Now the bad news: Anderson will take an extremely tough loss for his effort, because the A’s didn’t get a single hit until the eighth against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who was phenomenal today against a tired and ragtag A’s team (that featured Crosby at third and Landon Powell at first base --remember when we were worried about everyone’s playing time?). Wakefield lost the perfect game when Lowell muffed Suzuki’s easy grounder in the sixth; lost the no-hitter with Suzuki’s single in the eighth, and lost the shut-out when Powell singled in the A’s first run, also in the eighth. He would go on to pitch the complete game.
The irony of this game is had the deficit stayed at just two runs, the A’s would eventually get the tying run across the plate in the ninth on a double by Holliday, but the A’s bullpen ensured it wouldn’t matter. In a performance that was exactly the opposite of last night, the pen (featuring Jerry Blevins and Sean Gallagher) gave up six runs in the eighth inning to seal the victory for Wakefield; if not the no-no.
Anderson started the game by retiring the first five batters, but quickly a single and a smoked homerun put him and the A’s in a 2-0 hole in the second inning. After that hit, Anderson blanked the Red Sox the rest of the way through his seven innings; getting out of a tight spot in the seventh thanks to a 5-2-3 double play with the bases loaded and one out (Crosby to Suzuki to Powell).
The A’s only scoring opportunities came in the 8th and 9th, and they put single runs on the board in each, but thanks to one horrific bullpen inning, they would fall far short in their bid for the sweep.
But aside from hanging this loss on Anderson, I think this series was a success. I will take 2 out of 3 from Boston every time out, and be happy with it. The A’s showed a lot of good things in these three games, and I hope their offense--and pitching!--is ready to match up with Toronto.
I imagine we will continue to get injury updates on Chavez and Nomar as the week wears on.
No game tomorrow; play resumes in Toronto at 4:07 on Friday. Outman vs. Purcey.