Long flight home indeed, Nico.
Just when it looked as if the A's might leave Fenway with a most impressive series win, reality checked into the game. David Ortiz struck the big blow, a 3-run homerun in the seventh, and the A's missed a chance to return to Oakland with a 4-4 record at the home parks of the beasts of the American League East.
Gio Gonzalez who wiggled in and out of trouble (the "in" part courtesy of 4 walks, the "out" part thanks to 8 strikeouts), could not produce a shutdown inning after being staked to a 4-1 lead in the sixth, and an overused bullpen was no match for Boston's robust lineup.
The A's were held in check by Jon Lester through five, and trailed 1-0 before breaking through with four runs. Tommy Everidge hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to drive home the first run, and Bobby Crosby and Rajai Davis joined the party with RBI-hits to send Lester to the showers.
Boston chased Gonzalez in the aforementioned bottom-of-the-sixth with a pair of runs to make it 4-3, then forged ahead after the stretch, this after an Everidge run-scoring single increased the A's lead by one. Michael Wuertz walked Jason Ellsbury to start the inning, which is usually a bad thing, but he was quickly erased on a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Dustin Pedroia.
Then it happened. Jack Cust misplayed a Kevin Youkilis fly ball into a double, and Jason Bay walked. Exit Wuertz, enter Craig Breslow. Enter Papi, exit ball.
For kicks the Sox added two runs in the eighth off Santiago Casilla, and there would be no ninth-inning tease on this day.
Tough one to lose.
Well at least we don't have to go back to work. Oh wait.