After a dismal 3-game set against the AL-best Angels, the Boston Red Sox rebounded against the Oakland Athletics. Friday night was the debut of the Sox’ new left fielder, Jason Bay. Runs were hard to come by in the Justin Duchscherer vs Tim Wakefield matchup. Bay made an immediate impact, scoring the Sox’ lone run in the first 9 innings on a Jed Lowrie double.
After 7 solid innings from Wakefield and Delcarmen the Sox hit a snag. Hideki Okajima continued to his struggles, allowing a 2-out home run to A’s slugger Jack Cust. A scoreless 9th and shutdown pitching from both teams sent the game into extras. The Sox threatened twice – loading the bases but blowing the opportunity both times. In the bottom of the 12th, the Sox finally delivered. Jason Bay hit a monster triple off of Alan Embree that nearly cleared the wall. Jed Lowrie came through again and drove in Bay for the walk off win.
The complexion of Saturday’s game was completely different. The A’s scored two runs off of John Lester in the first, and fell asleep for the rest of the game. Kevin Youkilis launched two homers, and Jason Bay got his first in a Sox uniform. A’s starter Dana Eveland was chased after 2 innings and 9 runs. Lester went 7 strong, and the Sox got clean innings from Justin Masterson and Chris Smith to close it out. Interim shortstop Jed Lowrie showed up big again, hitting a bases-clearing double.
Bay and Lowrie continued to shine in the final game of the series. Bay scored two runs, and Lowrie drove 2 in. The two seem to be proficient run producers next to each other in the lineup. On the heels of one of his best pithcing performances in Boston, Daisuke found himself struggling at times. He scattered 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings. Hideki Okajima calmed down and pitched a solid 7th. Papelbon pitched a perfect 9th to notch his 31st save.
One of the highlights of the occasionally rain-soaked game was a crowd-pleasing stolen base by David Ortiz. After noticing that Santiago Casilla was not checking on him at first, Ortiz took advantage, motoring to second base.
The Sox remain two games behind the AL East-leading Rays, and lead the AL Wild Card race by 1.5 games over the Chicago White Sox.