OAKLAND -- Six Red Sox relievers came out of the bullpen and all but one -- Junichi Tazawa -- gave up at least one run in the debacle that was the 20-2 humiliation to the Oakland A's Friday night.
But there was some small solace for another. Daniel Bard, who allowed a run on two hits in the sixth inning, made his return to the big leagues after a nearly three-month demotion to the minor leagues.
"The adrenaline was there,'' said Bard. "It's not the eighth inning with a one-run lead, but it's a lot bigger stage than the one I've pitched on the last couple of months. It was fun. I felt comfortable out there.
"I wasn't quite as sharp as I would have liked to be, but I haven't pitched in four days, so, it was good to get back out there.''
Bard retired Josh Donaldson, the first major league hitter he'd faced since June 3, on an infield pop-up before allowing a solo homer to former teammate George Kottaras.
After a single to Cliff Pennington, he retired Coco Crisp, another former teammate, on a swinging bunt and got Stephen Drew to line out to first for the third out.
"Anytime you go three or four days (without throwing) as a reliever, you want to get back in there, '' said Bard, ''no matter where you're playing. So I was glad I was able to get my feet wet again today.''
Bard said he had some butterflies "but not as much as I expected. I think it's something about going through the same routine, with the same people, warming up throwing to (the same bullpen catcher) and having (bullpen coach Gary) Tuck standing next to me, it's a familiar place for me. So I think that kind of helped me relax a little. I wasn't as sharp as I would have liked to be, but it was really good to be out there.''
Evaluating his stuff, Bard said he was far from perfect. His velocity was down, too, as his fastball topped out at 92 mph.
"But it's almost September,'' he said. "I feel like I worked really hard just to get back here. Everything's not perfect. It's not where I want it. But I've definitely made some big steps in the right direction. I'll just try to continue that for the next month.
"I know I've got to prove some things to some people and I'm ready to do that.''