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Game #43: A’s miss out on the sweep, but take the series vs Red Sox

And surprise! The defense looked great!

Oakland Athletics v Boston Red Sox
Chad Pinder and Marcus Semien celebrate Semien’s two-run homer in the fifth inning off of Chris Sale.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Well, the A’s didn’t end up getting the sweep of the Red Sox. Still, for the second time this season they were able to take the series from one of baseball’s top teams. And this time it was not at home in Oakland but at Fenway Park. That’s actually quite a big deal, considering they haven’t swept a series at Fenway Park since 1990!

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Dazzling Defense:

We may not be used to this, but the A’s made some stellar defensive plays in this game. Despite not getting the win, there may still be a little bit to celebrate. Jonathan Lucroy made an impressive play, throwing out Mookie Betts — who currently leads his ball club in stolen bases — as he was attempting to steal second, getting the third out to end the bottom of the second inning. It was just the second time Betts had been thrown out this season.

Chad Pinder made an unbelievable catch in left field in the third. He ran up against the Green Monster, robbing Xander Bogaerts of what would have been extra bases.

Stephen Piscotty continued to make his mother proud, this time though it was with his glove. Mookie Betts hit a high fly ball into fowl territory. It was a long run for Piscotty who caught the ball while diving into the crowd, making a few Fenway friends along the way. All I can say about this catch is #TeamGretchen!!

For some inexplicable reason the A’s were forced to challenge the play as the umpires called it a dropped ball, but the call on the field was (as it should have been, it was obviously an AMAZING catch!) overturned and Betts was out, ending the inning. We may not be used to seeing such dazzling defense from the boys in green and gold but tonight’s game proved that it is certainly possible. We can only hope to see more of this astonishing and improved defense during the rest of the season.

Not So Perfect Pitching:

The A’s pitching was not so perfect but it wasn’t terrible either. With the exception of the first inning, in which he allowed three runs, A’s starter Trevor Cahill was efficient and pitched well. He allowed a single in the third to Andrew Benintendi but faced the minimum number of hitters in both the fourth and fifth innings. Cahill ended the day allowing three runs on five hits, walking one, striking out one and allowing one home run.

He was relieved by Ryan Dull in the six. He allowed three runs on four hits, a walk and a strikeout. The game defining blow came off of the bat of Xander Bogaerts who hit a three-run homer after Dull gave up a single to Hanley Ramirez and a walk to J.D. Martinez. He did manage to somehow minimize the damage. Despite giving up two more singles to Edward Nunez and Christian Vasquez, he was able to strike out Mitch Moreland and get both Rafael Devers and Betts to flyout. Still the damage had been done even though Chris Hatcher got three straight outs in the seventh and Danny Coulombe pitched a perfect inning, striking out all three batters he faced.

Home Run Happy Offense:

Despite not getting the A’s offense was able to knock Red Sox ace, Chris Sale, out of the game in just five innings. Sale left the game with 102 pitches, so the A’s batters did make him work — if only for two runs — on a homer by Marcus Semien. Matt Joyce added on a run with a solo shot to lead off the 7th off of Boston reliever Heath Hembree. And in the top of the ninth the Red Sox brought in their elite closer Craig Kimbrel and Matt Olson got to him, homering for the fourth run of the game and the seventh A’s homer of the series, making the final score 6-4 in favor of the Red Sox.

Overall, regardless of the loss, the A’s played a good game, against a strong opponent in a tough ballpark. Plus, the defense really did shine today and that is something we should all be excited about! Next up the team is headed to Toronto for a four-game series against the Blue Jays.