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


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

By Sean McAdam

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:

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.

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