April 20, 2011: Red Sox 5, A's 3

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April 20, 2011: Red Sox 5, A's 3

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

OAKLAND, Calif. -- For a team that hadn't been able to score -- let alone win -- on the road, the Red Sox picked a curious opponent against whom to break their streaks.

Winless on the road before Wednesday and held without a run in their last 20 straight road innings, the Sox broke out against Oakland A's lefty Gio Gonzalez -- who had allowed one run in his first three outings combined -- and went on to beat the A's, 5-3.

After the A's nicked Clay Buchholz (1-2) for a run in the first, the Sox countered with five runs, four off Gonzalez. Carl Crawford chipped in with run-scoring single in the second and Kevin Youkilis gave the Sox their first lead with a solo homer in the fourth.

White-hot Jed Lowrie belted a two-run homer in the sixth before a solo homer from J.D. Drew against the A's bullpen closed out the scoring.

Daniel Bard inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam from Buchholz in the sixth and stranded all three runners. Bard pitched 1 23 scoreless innings.

Bobby Jenks gave up a run in the eighth and left the bases loaded for Jonathan Papelbon, who fanned David DeJesus for the final out of the eighth.

Papelbon then yielded a run in the ninth before closing out his third save of the year.

Player of the Game:
Clay Buchholz

Buchholz didn't get as deep as the Red Sox would have liked -- leaving with one out in the sixth -- but he did limit the A's to a single run after 5 13 innings and earned his first win of the season.

In so doing, he also gave the Red Sox their first road win of the year and, though his outing failed to qualify as a quality start, became the fifth straight Red Sox starter to limit the opponents to one or no runs.

Honorable Mention:

Jed Lowrie

The legend continues. Lowrie got the start at third base and kept right on hitting. Robbed of extra bases in the second, he singled in the fourth and belted a two-run homer in the sixth, turning a one-run Red Sox lead into a three-run cushion.

For the season, Lowrie has 11 RBI, leading the team, though he didn't play much in the first nine games of the year.

The Goat:
Coco Crisp

Crisp had a very up-and-down day for the A's, knocking in two runs (solo homer, RBI single in eighth) but also stranding seven baserunners in his other at-bats.

Turning Point:
Bard puts out fire

Daniel Bard came into the game in the sixth with the bases loaded and one out, starter Clay Buchholz having walked the previous two hitters and reaching 103 with his pitch count.

Bard got Cliff Pennington swinging for the second out of the inning, then retired Coco Crisp on an inning-ending flyout to left.

Bard went on to pitch a scoreless seventh inning, too, proving his worth as a reliever who can come in to leveraged situations and bail a team out.

By the Numbers:
1.15

In the last five games, Red Sox starters have compiled a 1.15 ERA, with none of the starters allowing more than one earned run. Not surprisingly, the Sox are 4-1 in those five games.

Quote of Note:

"That was the game right there . . . That's what he's there for. He's a big weapon for us.'' -- Terry Francona on Daniel Bard

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

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Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, lefthanded hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike 3 — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

BOSTON - Drew Pomeranz pitched six strong innings and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts to lift the Boston Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to their fourth straight win.

Pomeranz (4-3) made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.

Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five overall and has lost 15 of 21 on the road.

Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez (1-3) early.