Derek Lowe's sneaky visit back to Boston

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Derek Lowe's sneaky visit back to Boston

There are many, many days when it blows my mind that Derek Lowe still exists on a Major League roster. But alas, he does. And tonight at Fenway, the now 38-year-old former Red Sox great will be back on the mound in opposition of a current Red Sox goat:

Josh Beckett vs. Derek Lowe: Can you feel it?!

Oh. Really?

Well, what about after the Celtics game?

OK, cool.

Believe it or not (or maybe it makes sense since he's spent the last eight seasons in the National League), this will only be D-Lowe's second time pitching at Fenway since heading west in 2005.

His previous start came on June 20, 2009, when he was playing for the Braves, and in Lowe's defense, he was pretty good: 6.1 innings, three runs.

That's what we call a quality start, folks.

But on this day, Lowe was nothing compared to a bonafide ace named Josh Beckett, who struck out seven Braves on his way to throwing a five-hit, complete game shutout. (Reached for comment afterwards, Beckett said: "Eff you guys, I'm hitting the links!")

But enough about Beckett, let's get back to D-Lowe.

Whether or not he's been the greatest dude off the field over the course of his 16-year career is up for debate. But you have to respect and applaud everything he's done between lines. And, of course, every ounce of what he gave to the city of Boston. Whether it was as a dominant middle reliever, a 40-save closer, a 20-game winner or whatever you call what he did in the 2004 playoffs. (Amazing?)

Tonight, Lowe arrives at Fenway with 170 career wins, which ranks him seventh on the active list (this despite not becoming a full-time starter until he was 29). Last year, he led the league with 17 losses, but before that had a string of nine straight 10 win seasons, and whether or not I choose to believe it, he's back at it again this year with Cleveland.

After six starts, he sits at 4-1 with a 2.39 ERA. In other words, he's easily better than anything we have in Boston. And when Lowe takes the mound this evening, Boston has an interesting dilemma on its hands.

Who do you root for: Derek Lowe or Josh Beckett?

Answer: You probably just watch the Celtics.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. - A five-run ninth inning for the Red Sox that lasted more than a half-hour derailed any chance Eduardo Rodriguez had of getting his first career complete game.

Not that the left-hander was complaining.

After a bitter loss to Oakland a year ago when he allowed just one hit over eight innings, Rodriguez was more than happy with the way things turned out.

Rodriguez earned his second straight win, Mitch Moreland homered in his third consecutive game and Boston beat the Oakland Athletics 12-3 on Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.

"I wanted to go back out there but they hit the ball pretty good in that inning and I know I had to get out of the game," Rodriguez said about the long wait. "I'll take it because we score more runs, I have a chance to win. If every inning's like that, I'll get out of the game after five."

Rodriguez (3-1) allowed three runs over eight innings. He struck out eight, walked one and retired 14 of his final 15 batters.

"Where he was with the pitch count, it'd be nice for him to go out there for the ninth inning given where he was and how well he was throwing the baseball," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "But at that point you're up nine, probably about a 35-minute inning, didn't want to take any chances."

Hanley Ramirez and Christian Vazquez had three hits apiece to power a Red Sox lineup that tallied 15 hits. Every player in Boston's starting lineup had at least one hit, and eight of the nine drove in runs.

Chad Pinder homered and drove in two runs for Oakland.

Boston, which hasn't been swept in a four-game series since July 2015, trailed 3-2 before scoring 10 runs over the final five innings.

"It felt we had them on the run a little bit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They get the lead and then we come back and take the lead again and you feel pretty good. But they were pretty persistent today."

Pinder went deep in the fourth, his fourth home run in eight games and fifth overall.

The A's committed three errors, giving them a major league-leading 42.

BRADLEY'S DEFENSIVE GEMS

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts gave the A's trouble with his running and defense. Betts scored twice from first base and also made a pair of strong defensive plays. He made a sliding catch on Mark Canha's sinking liner in the eighth and then slammed into the wall after catching Khris' Davis fly to end the inning.

"This place during the daytime plays very difficult," Farrell said. "What Mookie was able to do a couple times in right field, those aren't easy plays. To be able to stay with it, go up against the wall a couple of times, we played very good outfield defense here today."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Brock Holt continues to deal with lingering symptoms from vertigo and isn't yet ready to come off the disabled list, according to Farrell. Likewise, Boston plans to keep third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the minors to get consistent at-bats while recovering from a right knee sprain. ... Farrell said LHP Drew Pomeranz, who took the loss Saturday, will start against Texas on Thursday.

Athletics: Yonder Alonso (sore left knee) sat out his fourth straight game but could be back in the lineup Tuesday when Oakland begins a two-game series against Miami. ... Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) threw on flat ground before making 15 pitches off the mound. The plan is for the former closer to throw 25 pitches on Wednesday. ... Melvin said the team has applied for an extension on Chris Bassitt's rehab assignment. Bassitt underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (2-5) faces Texas on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. Porcello has lost three of his last four decisions.

Athletics: Following an off day, RHP Jesse Hahn (1-3) starts against Miami on Tuesday at the Coliseum. Hahn leads the majors in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings at 0.19.