OAKLAND -- Pablo Sandoval homered off A's reliever Angel Castro in the 11th inning of Monday night's series opener at the Coliseum, securing the Red Sox a 5-4 victory and handing Oakland its sixth straight loss.
"Hopefully this was a little bit of a homecoming for him. Not only to the area, but for what he's had with the Giants and the ability to meet with so many people last night when we got in," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Today was a special day for him."
Making his first appearance in the Bay Area since joining the Red Sox as a free agent in the offseason, Sandoval launched an 0-2 fastball off top of the right-field wall to lead off the 11th, marking the first run scored by either team since the seventh inning of a seesaw game.
"The pitch to Sandoval was right down the middle, and it was up," said A's catcher Stephen Vogt. "I haven't had a chance to watch a replay to see exactly how high it was. I know not very many normal people are hitting that ball out of the yard like he did."
Lefty Scott Kazmir went six innings for the A's, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks with three strikeouts. Right-hander Rick Porcello gave the Red Sox five innings, yielding three runs on nine hits with one walk and three strikeouts. But the night belonged to Sandoval, who collected his third World Series ring upon arriving at the Red Sox's hotel in San Francisco on Sunday.
"It's exciting. A lot of emotions," said Sandoval. "I got the ring and hit a homer, too. It was a big day for me. It was exciting."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Barnes notches first MLB win: The Red Sox had already gone deep into their bullpen by the time rookie Matt Barnes came on for the 10th inning. The righty came up big, firing two shutout innings to earn his first Major League win. Barnes recently made the transition from starter to reliever and could emerge into an important piece in Boston's bullpen.
"He was great," catcher Blake Swihart said of Barnes. "He was down in the zone. He was getting ahead of guys. He was going out there and competing, challenging them inside. He did a great job." More >
Bullpen blunders: Kazmir handed a 3-2 lead to Evan Scribner, who gave up two runs in the seventh, allowing the Red Sox to go ahead, 4-3. Oakland's relievers have allowed at least two runs in 18 of the club's 34 games, including 12 of the last 20, and the bullpen's 10 losses lead the Majors. More >
Napoli helps change momentum: With runners on second and third and two outs in the sixth inning, it appeared Coco Crisp was about to extend the A's 3-2 lead when he ripped a liner toward right field that would have scored two runs. But first baseman Mike Napoli made a brilliant stab at the ball, which snow-coned at the end of his glove, but never fell out. The play allowed the Red Sox to take the lead with two runs in the seventh.
Botched double play: A's shortstop Marcus Semien, having already committed his 10th error of the season in the fourth inning, wasn't able to complete what would've been an inning-ending double play in the seventh, leading to Boston's go-ahead run. Scribner fielded a comebacker from Dustin Pedroia and threw to Semien, who stepped on second base for the first out but couldn't get the ball out of his glove for the throw to first. Swihart scored on the play to put the Red Sox ahead, 4-3.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS David Ortiz's sixth-inning double was his 1,041st career extra-base hit, tying him with Pete Rose for 26th all time. Ortiz is third among active players, behind Alex Rodriguez (6th, 1,217) and Albert Pujols (18th, 1,105). Hank Aaron is the all-time leader with 1,477.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Kazmir promptly picked off Ortiz following his double in the sixth, but Red Sox manager John Farrell challenged, believing second baseman Eric Sogard did not apply a tag before Ortiz returned to second standing up. After a brief review, the play would stand.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Righty Justin Masterson starts Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. PT game against the A's. Masterson hasn't been able to get into a groove during his return to Boston, and has generally hit a wall in the mid innings.
A's: Left-hander Drew Pomeranz looks to get on track for Oakland. Pomeranz is 0-3 with a 6.57 ERA over his last five starts, after tossing seven shutout innings in his season debut.