OAKLAND -- Rubby De La Rosa deserved a better fate Saturday. Instead, he got a no-decision.
He deserves to remain in the Red Sox' starting rotation, too, but indications are he's not going to get that either.
De La Rosa, making his fifth start for the Sox, allowed just one run on four hits over seven innings. He likely would have been saddled with an especially tough-luck loss if home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott hadn't blown a call on a foul tip, which gave Mike Napoli another chance at the plate, and resulted in a wild pitch enabling Dustin Pedroia to score from third on a wild pitch.
That took De La Rosa off the hook for the loss, which instead went to reliever Edward Mujica, who issued a leadoff walk in the bottom of the 10th and saw that result in the winning run being scored for Oakland in a 2-1 A's win.
"Rubby was outstanding today,'' said John Farrell. "He's got outstanding stuff. A couple of times, even when he fell behind 3-0 in counts, he came all the way back to record an out, either by a ball in play or a strikeout. He's pitched with a lot of poise and just very good stuff overall.''
Until Saturday, De La Rosa had pitched far better at home than on the road, having tossed 14 shutout innings at Fenway in two starts, while allowing eight runs in two road starts.
But Saturday, it didn't matter where he was pitching, as De La Rosa used an explosive fastball mixed with a changeup and a good slider to subdue the A's. The only run off him came in the third when Stephen Vogt tripled off the wall in right-center and trotted home on a sacrifice fly from Alberto Callaspo.
Still, until the Sox broke through in the top of the eighth, after De La Rosa finished his final inning in the bottom of the seventh, the Sox couldn't offer any support.
"That happens in the game,'' shrugged De La Rosa. "It's not that hard. It's not simple, either. They tried to do their best and support me.''
De La Rosa said the Red Sox haven't told him anything about when his next start will be, or more tellingly, where it will be.
But given that the Sox have already added Felix Doubront back into the rotation and will soon do the same with Clay Buchholz, it seems inevitable that De La Rosa will be heading back to Triple A until there's another opening.
Even a bullpen assignment in the big leagues is distinctly unlikely, since the Sox don't have anyone with options remaining in the bullpen, and though Edward Mujica and Chris Capuano haven't pitched well, don't seem inclined to designate either for assignment.
"They gave me the opportunity,'' said an appreciative De La Rosa. "I tried to do my best. For me, it's special because they gave me the opportunity, so I feel good (about) that. I learned a lot, like a 100 percent. I learned how to use my pitches and in what counts and for what hitters. I feel a lot of confidence.''
Perhaps, but soon, it seems that will have to be put to use in Pawtucket.