The Oakland Athletics' slump has officially become a skid. After a 9-6 loss in Boston, the A's have lost four games in a row. They haven't dropped that many games in succession since their nine-game losing streak spanning May 22 to June 21, 2012.
Prior to the Red Sox win on Monday, the A's had won eight consecutive games against them. The last time the A's took eight in a row from the Red Sox was in 1932, when they were the Philadelphia Athletics.
The A's got down big in this game and still managed to make it competitive. After struggling mightily offensively in their previous three games, the A's hitters had a respectable day at the plate.
Starting Pitching Report
A.J. Griffin had the worst start of his career. He allowed a career-worst seven earned runs on eight hits over four innings. The A's young starting pitcher left the game with no outs in the fifth inning.
The A's were down 4-3 entering the fifth, and had just scored a run when Griffin got a potential double play ball that was dropped by second baseman Andy Parrino. Instead of two outs with nobody on base, the Red Sox had two on and no outs with David Ortiz stepping to the plate.
Ortiz drew a walk to load the base before Mike Napoli stepped to the plate and hit a 0-1 fastball over the green monster in left field to make it an 8-3 game. The next batter, Daniel Nava, reached base on an error by Brandon Moss. Nava's ground ball hit off the heel of Moss' glove. He was able to recover and get the ball to Griffin, who made a sliding attempt to touch the bag, but the umpire ruled that he missed the base. Replays showed that Nava should have been out, but the damage was done and Griffin was pulled from the game.
Griffin allowed a run on a double by Napoli in the second inning, and a three-run homer to Will Middlebrooks in the fourth inning.
The A's relievers combined for four innings without allowing an earned run. Chris Resop relieved Griffin in the fifth inning and allowed a double to make it 9-3. The run was charged to Griffin.
Jerry Blevins pitched a scoreless sixth inning. Sean Doolittle got the first two outs in the seventh inning, Jesse Chavez relieved him and got the final out and then pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
Chavez has struggled in his limited time with the A's, but he kept the ball down and pitched well against a tough team in Fenway Park.
At the Plate
The A's apparently left their offensive struggles in Tampa Bay. They scored six runs on Monday in Boston, but it wasn't enough. In the second inning, Jed Lowrie led off with a walk. Josh Donaldson hit a double to move him over to third base. The A's first run scored on a passed ball, before Josh Reddick drove home the other Josh with a sharp single up the middle to give the A's a 2-0 lead.
The Joshes were at it again in the eighth inning. Donaldson hit a two run double and scored when Reddick hit an opposite field double off the green monster. The A's rally put them within three runs of the Red Sox.
Reddick has been struggling at the plate, but has driven in a run in back-to-back games now. He finished the day 2 for 4 with two RBI.
The Red Sox took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, but the A's answered back in the fifth. They managed to loaded the bases with one out and scored one run on a Chris Young sacrifice fly to make it 4-3 Red Sox. Brandon Moss drew a walk to load the bases again, but Lowrie flew out to end the inning after taking some close pitches.
In the Field
The error by Parrino, who is usually a sure-handed infielder, was tough for the A's to overcome. The Red Sox have a tough lineup and they made the A's pay dearly for the mistake. Parrino was shading toward first base and made a long run to get to the feed at second base. He was there, but just dropped the ball.
While it put Griffin in a very difficult position, Griffin still walked Ortiz and gave up the grand slam, so he gets a share of the blame.
The error charged to Moss was more on the umpire than the first baseman. He didn't come up with the ball cleanly, but he got it to Griffin, who looked like he tagged first base. The umpire disagreed.
The Red Sox announced an attendance of 28,926.
The A's will turn to their unflappable veteran to right the ship. Bartolo Colon (2-0, 3.32 ERA) hasn't walked a batter all season and he's been as consistent as the A's hoped he would be when they brought him back. Colon has a 3.98 ERA in 26 appearances against the Red Sox.
The Red Sox will send right-handed pitcher Alfredo Aceves (1-0, 6.28 ERA) to the mound. Aceves is a reliever-turned-starting pitcher. In nine appearances against the A's, he is 3-1 with a 5.17 ERA.