Oakland, CA – Coco Crisp didn’t start tonight’s game but he certainly left a lasting impression when he came in to pinch-hit for Craig Gentry. Bottom of the eighth with two runners on, Crisp knocked a single into right field scoring in the tie-breaking run.
The A’s 4-3 victory over the Red Sox continues to keep them at the top with the best record in the Majors. They recorded their fourth consecutive win, making this a franchise best 74-game mark since the 1990’s. Winning sixth of their last seven games has put Oakland in a class of their own.
“We know with our team we play a full squad, so we’re always prepared in case of anything, said Crisp.”
Pitcher Brad Mills who was bought for $1 was off to a great start in the first retiring the first two batters he faced before walking Dustin Pedroia and striking out David Ortiz to end the inning. Josh Donaldson backed him with a three-run homer bottom of the frame making it a 3-0 game.
Mills lost his command in the second allowing two runs, Mike Napoli singled on a line drive to start the inning. Jonny Gomes was issued a walk and both runners advanced to second and third on Nick Punto’s throwing error. Jackie Bradley scored in both runners on a RBI single to center field making it a 3-2 game.
Ortiz tied the game when he singled on a ground ball to right field scoring in Xander Bogaerts who walked to leadoff the third. Mill’s outing didn’t last long, he tossed four frames, gave up four hits, three runs, four walks and struck out four.
“I don’t have a chip on my shoulder,” Mills said when asked about his deal. “My job is to throw strikes. I didn’t throw as many today as I would have liked to.”
Jim Johnson came in and yielded two singles to the first two batters and struck out the next two before walking Gomes to load the bases with two outs in the fifth. Johnson then forced Stephen Drew to ground out to end the inning stranding all three runners.
“They’re running out guys out of the bullpen that are mid to upper 90’s, and we had opportunities early on and couldn’t cash in,” said Boston’s manager John Farrell.
The A’s rallied in the seventh when both Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes hit back-to-back singles. Donaldson grounded into a force out putting runners in the corner but Stephen Vogt who replaced an injured Derek Norris flew out to left field leaving runners stranded.
Oakland got another opportunity to put runners on again in the eighth and scored in the winning run while the bullpen pitched five scoreless innings. The Red Sox had no answer for the second consecutive night against stellar pitching. Ryan Cook, Fernando Abad and closer Sean Doolittle didn’t allow one runner on base with a hit.
“It’s a good team over there,” Gomes said. “They had a guy who’s had 100 saves the last two years coming in the fifth.”
“That was a complete team win today,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “When our starter goes four innings and you got to use a lot of the bullpen… we certainly got a lot of contributions.”