Despite the looks of Hairston-less lineup today, I had a good feeling about it. The Kennedy/Cabrera connection has been hot lately, and I love Suzuki in the third spot. Jack Cust as the DH takes him out of the field, and after his towering double off the Green Monster yesterday, Everidge was deemed ready to start in the sixth spot.
The whole lineup worked in the first inning. After Adam Kennedy started the game with a first-pitch homerun (the 100th in Oakland A's history), Cabrera and Suzuki followed with singles, and Cust walked to load the bases with no one out. Ryan Sweeney grounded to second, but beat out the double-play return throw and collected the RBI to make it 2-0. Everidge came up with runners at 1st and 3rd and one out, and had a great at-bat, taking some tough pitches to work a walk.
Then Mark Ellis stepped in with the bases loaded, facing the struggling Penny. He worked the count to 2-0......and popped up. Memo to the team: I want to you swing when you think the next pitch is a get-me-over, but if you are swinging at a 2-0 pitch with the bases loaded, you had better crush it. He didn't. It looked like the A's would let Penny escape with just the two runs, but Davis had other ideas. Rajai Davis worked the count to 3-2 and absolutely smoked a bases-clearing double (nearly a grand slam), giving Anderson a nice 5-0 cushion before he ever threw a pitch.
He would need nearly all of it in the first inning alone.
In another life, the A’s wouldn’t have scored again and certainly wouldn’t have been able to hold the Red Sox for the remainder of the game, but tonight's game was different.
After his rocky first inning, Anderson settled down nicely, throwing six innings for the win, allowing just the three run homerun and striking out eight.
Kurt Suzuki padded the A’s lead with a solo shot in the fifth, and Eric Patterson finally got into the action with a 2-RBI double in the sixth to run up the score to 8-3. Despite the lead, the double would end up being the difference in the game.
The A’s made things interesting (and not the least bit terrifying) in the late innings as Wuertz replaced Anderson in the seventh and allowed a triple and a ground out for Boston's fourth run.
In Boston’s eighth inning, Ziegler pitched to his first batter, and everyone in the park recorded the first out as the ball floated gently down to the centerfielder…s. Sweeney and Rajai were both waiting for the ball, and despite standing on top of each other, neither one managed to catch it. Bay scooted on around to third and would come home to score to close the gap to three. Pinch-hitting David Ortiz would take a shot at the A’s as the tying run with two outs, but Breslow got him to pop the ball straight up, in what was a very scary play. Breslow gave up on it; Suzuki gave up on it, and Kennedy had to take the ball on the mound, and barely hung on for the out.
Bailey started the ninth by putting the tying runs on base, then allowing a run, and then watching as the go-ahead run came to the plate. Drew grounded out to the defensive replacement, Crosby, and the A's took home the win.
Everidge watch: 0-3, 2 walks.
Day game tomorrow; A’s try to win the four game series in Boston, their first since 1996!