Sox complete sweep of Athletics, 4-0


Sox complete sweep of Athletics, 4-0

By Maureen Mullen Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Almost 11 hours after they began playing, the Red Sox completed a sweep of their soggy Saturday doubleheader against the As, taking the nightcap, 4-0.

In all there were three rain delays totaling exactly four hours in both games. When rain stopped the second game for an hour with one on, no outs, and a 2-2 count to As lead-off hitter Jemile Weeks in the fifth inning, Sox starter Eric Bedard was knocked from the game. Bedard also lost a shot at his first win with the Sox since being acquired from the Mariners at the trading deadline.

Instead, the win went to Alfredo Aceves, who went three innings, allowing one hit with three strikeouts. Aceves improves to 9-1 with a 2.86 ERA.

Graham Godfrey took the loss for the As, falling to 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA.

David Ortiz, who went 5-for-8 with two home runs and five RBI in both games, went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI in the night game, extending his hitting streak to 12 games, his longest since a 13-game streak last season. His two-run home run in second inning, scoring Dustin Pedroia, who had doubled, provided the Sox with all they runs they would need.

Bedard went four innings (plus one batter in the fifth) giving up two hits and four walks with five strikeouts. He threw 86 pitches, 54 for strikes.

Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon pitched the eighth and ninth, respectively, securing the sweep for the Sox.

The Sox are off until Tuesday, when they start a three-game series with the Yankees.

PLAYER OF THE GAME:David OrtizOrtiz went 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI. In thesecond inning, he hit his 27th home run of the season, a two-runshot, scoring Dustin Pedroia, who had doubled. The blast gave the Sox all theruns they would need. Ortiz went 5-for-8 with two home runs and five RBI in thedoubleheader, extending his hitting streak to 12 games, his longest since a13-game stretch from July 22 Aug. 4, 2010.In that stretch he is batting .522 (24-for-46) with six home runs and 14RBI, raising his average from .288 to .311.The home run was the 376th of his career, tyinghim with Carlton Fisk for 67th on baseballs all-time list. It wasalso his 150th at Fenway Park. Only four other players have hit more(Ted Williams, 248; Carl Yastrzemski, 237; Jim Rice, 208; and Dwight Evans,199).

HONORABLE MENTION:Alfredo AcevesWith the Sox leading by three runs and starter Eric Bedardout of the game after a one-hour rain delay, Aceves went three innings, allowingjust one walk with three strikeouts. He matched the longest scoreless outing ofhis career for the fourth time and third time this season. Aceves earned the win, improving to 9-1 witha 2.86 ERA. He extended his career-high relief outings with multiple strikeoutsto six. He has 15 strikeouts in 11 13 scoreless innings over his last sixappearances. In 14 outings since July 26, he has posted an ERA of 0.90,giving up two earned runs over 20 innings.With the win, Aceves improved to 23-2 in his career,becoming the first pitcher ever to win 23 of his first 25 decisions. He haswon each of his last 18 relief decisions since June 7, 2009, the longest suchstreak since Roy Face won 22 straight decisions out of the bullpen from June 7,1958 Aug. 30, 1959. THE GOAT: GrahamGodfreyMother Nature is certainly a viable candidate for thiscategory, mangling both teams' starting pitching, causing four hours of delaysin three separate stints, finally allowing the doubleheader to finish almost 11hours after it began. But it wasGodfrey, recalled from Triple-A Sacramento at the start of the second game, whogave up the runs. He allowed three runs in four innings, on six hits with nowalks, one strikeout, and a home run. THE TURNING POINTAfter Graham Godfrey retired the Sox in order in the first, DustinPedroia led off the second with a double. David Ortiz followed that with his 27thhome run of the season, and second of the day, a blast into the first row ofMonster seats. The two runs would be allthe Sox would need, as starter Eric Bedard, Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon kept the Asoff the scoreboard.BY THE NUMBERS: 4The Sox and As played around three separate delays, totaling four hours, in the doubleheader that took almost 11hours to complete. Winning both games, itwas the first doubleheader the Sox have swept since taking two from the Rays onSept. 13, 2009. They have played five doubleheaderssince, splitting four and losing one. The shutout, the Sox 12th of the season, is the most theyvehad since 16 in 2008.The Sox have had 17 games this season delayed or postponedby rain.QUOTE OF NOTE:We need it. We need it bad. Just the travel alone, came home for two days but played three games in two days. Got back on the road and went to the heat in Texas. Came home, played last night and played all day today. We need these two days off to rejuvenate and I think it'd be good for our pitchers to have a few extra days off as well, and I think the field probably needs a few extra days, too. -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia on having two days off before starting a three-game series with the Yankees on Tuesday at Fenway Park

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Lou Merloni talks about the Red Sox losing 6 out of the last 7 games and if David Price should have stayed in the game for the 9th inning.

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

There are still two full months of games left on the schedule and who knows what might happen in that time, or what else might befall the Red Sox.

But for now, it's no stretch to suggest that Thursday's excruciating 2-1 setback in Anaheim constitutes the worst loss of the season to date. The point hardly seems debatable.


THE TIMING: This was the start of the longest, and in many ways, most challenging road trip of the season, with 11 games in 11 days. It comes immediately after a homestand that was highly disappointing, featuring a mere split with the last-place Minnesota Twins and a sweep at the hands of the otherwise mediocre Detroit Tigers.

There's been a great deal of attention focused on how many road games the Sox have to play through the rest of the season. Winning the opener -- and snapping a three-game losing streak in the process - would have felt like a strong statement that the club was ready and able to meet the challenges of the schedule.

THE STARTING PITCHER: The loss wiped out a standout performance by David Price, who may well hold the key to whether the Red Sox grab a playoff spot this fall.

Price has been woefully inconsistent in his first season with the Red Sox, alternating between brief stretches of dominance and periods of underwhelming outings.

For a change Thursday night, Price seemed on the verge of winning one of those "statement'' games, when he would make one measly run in the third inning stand up. There have been too many times, given his standing as the team's No. 1 starter, in which Price has pitched just well enough to lose -- like the pitcher's duels in which he came up short against the likes of Madison Bumgarner and Chris Tillman.

But on Thursday, Price didn't buckle. And never mind that he was matched against an aging and depleted Jered Weaver. Price had next-to-nothing with which to work, but he protected the 1-0 lead with a determination he has seldon shown in Boston.

And for his effort to go wasted sets an inauspicious marker for this demanding trip. There was something symbolic about having Price set the tone at the start with a low-scoring, must-have game.

He did his part. Unfortunately for Price, that wasn't enough.

THE WAY IN WHICH IT HAPPENED: Walk-off losses are never pleasant, whether they come on a homer, or a base hit up the middle.

But considering that the Red Sox had the ability to turn Daniel Nava's tapper to first into a game-ending double play, and instead, saw it result in a two-run throwing error on the part of Hanley Ramirez, makes it all the more crushing.

Brad Ziegler, who gave up a go-ahead game-winning homer in the final game of the homestand Wednesday, essentially did his job in the ninth. He got Mike Trout to hit a chopper, which resulted in an infield single. And he kept the ball on the ground and in the infield, with the Sox bringing the infield in with the bases loaded and one out.

Better execution, and the Red Sox walk away with a thrilling 1-0 victory to begin their West Coast trek. Instead, they walk off the field, heads down, with the wrong precedent being set.