OAKLAND – Once again, Coco Crisp was the right man with the bat in his hands for the A’s.
Crisp hit the first pitch he saw from Koji Uehara for a walk-off single that scored Alberto Callaspo in the bottom of the 10th and gave the A’s an emotional 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
It came only after the A’s seemed to get robbed on a controversial play in the eighth that resulted in Boston tying the game.
Mike Napoli appeared to strike out to end the top of the eighth against A’s reliever Luke Gregerson. But after an umpire’s conference, it was ruled that Napoli’s foul tip hit the dirt before catcher Stephen Vogt caught it. Replays appeared to show that Vogt caught it in the air. Gregerson bounced the next pitch and Dustin Pedroia scored the tying run to make it 1-1.
After Gregerson got the third out, A’s manger Bob Melvin bolted from the dugout and was ejected by home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott for arguing.
Callaspo led off the 10th with a walk and was sacrficied to second by Nick Punto. The Red Sox brought in closer Koji Uehara, and Crisp jumped on the first pitch, lashing a game-winning single to right. Left-handed hitters came in just 5 for 56 against Uehara this season.
On Friday night, Crisp also delivered the go-ahead single in the eighth inning to key the A’s 4-3 victory.
Starting pitching report
Jesse Chavez deserved a victory in this one. He threw seven scoreless innings and didn’t surrender his first hit until the sixth. The seven shutout innings would suggest it was a walk in the park for Chavez.
He issued four walks, one in each of the first four innings. So although he was baffling Boston hitters, his command deserted him to a degree early on. But those walks didn’t hurt, as just one of those base runners reached as far as second base.
After Melvin praised Chavez’s work in his last start, saying it resembled Chavez’s excellent April form, the right-handed backed it up with another standout performance. He lowered his ERA from 2.93 to 2.71.
The foul-tip controversy had to be quite the emotional swing for Gregerson. He let out a euphoric yell -- thinking he had struck out Napoli to end the inning – then he had to try to gather himself to deliver another 2-2 pitch with a runner at third base. He bounced the next pitch well in front of home plate, and Pedroia made his mad dash home to tie the game.
Pedroia got in position to score when David Ortiz swung at a 3-0 pitch and hit a shallow blooper that fell in front of center fielder Coco Crisp, allowing Pedroia to go from first to third.
Controversy or not, the eighth-inning run snapped a string of three games in which the A’s bullpen had thrown nine shutout innings.
At the plate
Red Sox right-hander Rubby De La Rosa was up to the task of matching Chavez’ outing. The A’s got to him for just one run and four hits over seven innings. That run came in the third. Stephen Vogt hit a triple high off the wall in right-center, then Alberto Callaspo drove him in with a sacrifice fly. That was it for the A’s until the 10th.
In the field
Two double plays helped Chavez’s cause. The first came after he walked Brock Holt to lead off the game. Dustin Pedroia hit a ball up the middle that shortstop Jed Lowrie turned two on. Chavez played a part in the second one, and it was big at the time. Holt and Pedroia led off the sixth with singles to break up the no-hitter. But No. 3 hitter David Ortiz hit into a 3-6-1 double play, with Chavez covering first to complete it. That put a runner at third with two outs, and Napoli took a fastball down the middle for strike three.
Attendance has crept up for each game so far this series. Saturday’s turnout was 32,873.
Two lefties square off to close out the A’s homestand Sunday. Tommy Milone (5-3, 3.56) takes the ball for Oakland and Jon Lester (8-7, 3.20) goes for Boston. First pitch is 1:05 p.m.