Sox blow 4-1 lead, lose to O's in 10 inns., 7-6

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Sox blow 4-1 lead, lose to O's in 10 inns., 7-6

By Art Martone
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Talk about their lack of offense if you want. Ridicule the notion of run prevention if you must.

But the biggest problem facing the Red Sox this summer -- its recent shutout stretch notwithstanding - may be the bullpen.

Box score Play by play

In the just-completed series against the dreadful Orioles, the Sox dodged bullets with their relief corps on Friday (when the 'pen squandered a 3-0 lead before the offense pulled it out with a run in the bottom of the eighth for a 4-3 victory) and Saturday (when it turned a comfortable 7-3 eight-inning lead into a 7-6 nailbiter) nights.

No such luck on Sunday.

Handed a 4-1 lead with two outs in the seventh, the 'pen gave up seven hits and five walks, leading to five runs (and one inherited run that was charged to Tim Wakefield), in 3 13 innings as the Sox failed to complete the series sweep, falling to the Orioles, 7-6, in 10 innings.

Scott Atchison left Scott Schoeneweis a no-out, bases-loaded mess after coming on to start the 10th and surrendering, in order, a single to Miguel Tejada, a double to Luke Scott and walk to Ty Wiggington. Rhyne Hughes delivered one run with a single to right, leaving the bases loaded. Matt Wieters delivered two more with a single to left through the drawn-in infield, making it 7-4.

The Sox made a run in the bottom of the 10th, closing to 7-6 on a leadoff double by Kevin Youkilis, a one-out RBI double by J.D. Drew, a single by Adrian Beltre and an RBI single by Billy Hall. But ex-Sox reliever Cla Meredith came on and slammed the door, retiring Darnell McDonald on a foul pop to Wieters and Marco Scutaro on a liner to Wigginton at second base to nail down the victory.

Wakefield is heading to the bullpen this week, according to sources, but he made his case to stay in the rotation with 6 23 solid innings, allowing only two runs. He left the game with a 4-1 lead and was denied the victory when Hideki Okajima didn't nail down the final out of the seventh until he'd allowed the tying runs to score.

The Orioles took the lead in the second when Hughes -- who idolized Ted Williams as a youngster, making his 2-for-5 major-league debut Saturday night that much more special for him since it happened at Fenway Park -- doubled with one out and rode home on a single by Craig Tatum. That was basically the extent of the Oriole offense off Wakefield, but it was enough as David Hernandez protected the lead admirably through the first five innings.

And then, in the sixth, the roof caved in on him.

Dustin Pedroia opened the inning with a walk and Victor Martinez singled to right. Youkilis tied the game with a single to left, scoring Pedroia and sending Martinez to third.

With David Ortiz due, Orioles manager Dave Trembley called on left-hander Mark Hendrickson. Terry Francona let Ortiz hit and was rewarded with a ringing single to center that scored Martinez, making it 2-1, and sent Youkilis to third. Drew followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Youkilis and made it 3-1.

Beltre then singled to center, giving the Sox runners at first and second with one out, and Francona decided to raid his bench in an attempt to put the game away.

His first move failed. Hall, pinch-hitting for Jeremy Hermida, struck out.

But his second move was solid gold. Mike Lowell, pinch-hitting for Jonathan Van Every, doubled into the left-field corner, making it 4-1.

That lead only held, however, for as long as it took Okajima -- who came on in relief of Wakefield with a runner at third and two out in the seventh -- to surrender a double to Nick Markakis and a home run to Miguel Tejada, tying the game at 4-4 and costing Wakefield (and, eventually, the Sox) the victory.

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

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.