OAKLAND -- The A's lost another starting pitcher to an injury, then saw their bullpen battered like a piata Friday to open their weekend series against the Boston Red Sox at the Coliseum.
The A's trailed 15-2 when this edition went to press. For the complete story, please see mercurynews.com.
Andrew Triggs pitched the first inning, giving up an unearned run, then had to leave because of a bad back. Zach Neal took over and gave up an unearned run of his own over the course of the next three innings.
In the fifth and sixth innings, however, the Red Sox scored 10 times to put the game well out of reach. David Ortiz, at 40 making his last swing through Oakland before retiring, drove in three runs with a couple of singles and a sacrifice fly.
Ortiz has 105 RBI with a month left in the season. The RBI record for a 40-year-old player is 108, and the last three innings Friday were spent wondering if Ortiz would take Dave Winfield (1992) out of the record books before the evening was over. Nope -- he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.
And it wasn't just Ortiz punishing A's pitching. Travis Shaw hit a three-run homer and two doubles while driving in five runs. Hanley Ramirez doubled, singled and drove in three.
It's a tired story. Oakland's mound corps has served up nothing but mush against the Red Sox all year. In three games in Boston in mid-May, the Sox scored 14, 13 and 13 runs, so Friday's total was right about par.
A's pitching has allowed 1.67 runs per inning to the Red Sox, which is a searing indictment of the differences between the playoff-bound Sox and the last place A's.
The first two Boston runs were unearned thanks to errors by Marcus Semien and Brett Eibner. That gave Red Sox lefty David Price some wiggle room, but the A's reached him for three hits and two runs to tie the game at 2-all in the fourth.
The tie had a short shelf life. Five consecutive two-out hits off Neal and Daniel Coulombe produced four runs in the fifth. An inning later, Coulombe and J.B. Wendelken combined to allow six runs, and the game quickly devolved into another typical Boston blowout of Oakland.