BY JOE STIGLICH
OAKLAND, Calif. – Brandon Workman lost his no-hitter in the seventh inning Sunday, then the Red Sox lost the ballgame in the 11th.
Josh Donaldson blooped a walkoff single in the bottom of the 11th off Red Sox reliever Matt Thornton that gave the Oakland A’s a 3-2 victory over Boston before 31,417 fans at O.co Coliseum.
Thornton (0-4) took the loss in his Boston debut after being acquired from the White Sox on Friday. He allowed two walks to put the winning run in scoring position with two outs.
The Red Sox let a 2-0 lead slip away in their final game before the All-Star break. Until the late-inning dramatics, it was shaping up as a most memorable afternoon for Workman.
In his first major league start, the Sox right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh before allowing a leadoff infield single to Coco Crisp that Dustin Pedroia made an outstanding diving effort on. Two batters later, Donaldson – the Oakland third baseman who many felt should have been an All-Star --crushed a 3-2 pitch deep over the wall in left-center for a two-run game-tying homer.
That’s when Boston manager John Farrell pulled Workman, who in quick succession lost his no-no, his shutout and a chance at his first big league victory.
A 2010 second-round pick out of the University of Texas, Workman was called up from the minors July 9 and made his big league debut a day later, allowing three runs in two innings of relief.
Based on that, no one could have expected the effort he gave Sunday. He kept the A’s off-balance most of the day, giving up little in the way of hard contact. Entering the seventh, he had retired 18 of 19 hitters he faced. His only base runner had come on a fourth-inning walk to John Jaso.
Boston broke a scoreless tie in the sixth when Dustin Pedroia lined a run-scoring single to left off A’s starter Bartolo Colon. Brock Holt made it 2-0 in the seventh with a single past a drawn-in infield that scored Mike Carp, who doubled.
STAR OF THE GAME: Josh Donaldson
He drove in all three of Oakland’s runs, bashing a monster two-run homer to tie the game, then blooping the game-winner to right field in the 11th. The third baseman also made a terrific over-the-head catch of Jacoby Ellsbury’s foul pop-up, running with his back to home plate.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brandon Workman
The Sox were simply hoping for the rookie to eat up innings and keep it a close game, but he ended up giving them 6 1/3 (mostly) dominant innings.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Matt Thornton
The lefty reliever wound up taking the loss in his Red Sox debut, and two walks set up the game-winning rally.
TURNING POINT: Boston led 2-0 before Donaldson belted a 3-2 pitch from Workman deep over the wall in left-center to tie the game in the seventh.
BY THE NUMBERS: Workman is the first Sox pitcher to allow three or fewer base runners in his first major league start since George Hockette allowed three on Sept. 17, 1934.
QUOTE OF NOTE: “We don’t see them that often. They have a great team. We respect the heck out of them. It was a great series and hopefully we see them again.” - Dustin Pedroia on the A’s, a potential postseason opponent.