Oakland, CA – The Boston Red Sox came into tonight’s game knowing the A’s have been playing exceptional baseball. That’s a pretty good compliment from a team that still holds the crown as the world champs. Red Sox manager John Farrell praised Oakland’s pitching staff for bringing in such young talent.
“We know we’re up against a team that’s leading the American League,” said Farrell before the game. “This is a good test for us, they play with a lot of confidence and have a great pitching staff.”
Scott Kazmir is a product of the A’s superb pitching and led the way for Oakland’s 4-2 win over Boston to start the four-game series. He retired the first nine batters he faced, allowing two hits before Brock Holt knocked a single to left field in the sixth.
Kazmir struck out the next batter before Dustin Pedroia blasted a two-run homer over the left field wall. Yoenis Cespedes almost stole that home run from Pedroia as he leaped over the wall coming within inches of catching the ball but it grazed his glove before falling back into left field.
The Red Sox trimmed the lead making it a 3-2 game but the A’s offense added on another run to seal their victory in the seventh. John Jaso’s RBI single added some breathing room while the bullpen came in and pitched two scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to back another outstanding performance from Kazmir.
“No new answers… same game,” said Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin. “Really one changeup that was up, got a little too close to Pedroia. Other than that, the mix of pitches, the plus and minus on the fastball, in and out, it’s been terrific. It’s a broken record talking about him because we’re seeing basically the same game out of him.”
“Kazmir’s got a heck of a year started halfway through,” Farrell said. “You see what he’s put up, not just against us tonight but throughout the course of the season so far, and once again we’re scrambling to try to create some opportunities.”
Josh Donaldson leadoff the second with a single and Derek Norris followed hitting into a fielder’s choice scoring Donaldson in on third baseman’s Xander Bogaerts throwing error to first baseman Mike Napoli making it a 1-0 game.
Cespedes went yard with solo blast to center field extending Oakland’s lead 2-0, and Stephen Vogt added another RBI in the forth with a soft single over shortstop Stephen Drew’s head landing in center field. The A’s remain the best in the Majors thanks to great pitching and good defense.
“We faced a good pitcher,” said Pedroia. “To be host with you, I think our at-bats weren’t that bad. We had some guys hit some balls at people. We just didn’t score more than them. We’ve got to try to find a way to have a big inning and get some momentum.”