OAKLAND -- Rick Porcello briefly toyed with a perfect game, and the parade of Red Sox runners crossing home plate at the expense of A's pitching continued Saturday in a 11-2 win at the Coliseum, allowing Boston to draw even with the Blue Jays atop first place in the American League East.
The Red Sox have scored a dizzying 67 runs in five games against the A's this season, scoring nine times by the fourth inning in Saturday's game. Porcello, meanwhile, made quick work of the A's, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning before Jake Smolinski doubled over Chris Young's head with one out.
"I obviously knew the situation," Porcello said. "Five innings, you still have a lot of baseball to be played. My whole mindset was once we had that big inning in the third was to throw strikes and get outs as quick as I can."
The bulk of Boston's damage came against A's starter Daniel Mengden with two outs in the third inning. The Red Sox scored seven straight runs, sparked by Hanley Ramirez's 20th homer of the season. Rookie Yoan Moncada added his first career hit, an RBI double, and David Ortiz launched a two-run double to the wall in center to cap the scoring.
"Teams that take a lot of pitches and make you throw a lot of pitches," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It's like a boxer. It's just body blows and body blows and then they give you a good one. That's what they do."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Moncada delivers first career hit: Moncada, baseball's top prospect, recorded his first career hit in his first career start, lining an RBI double to left field in the third inning. Boston eventually scored two runs on the play after A's left fielder Khris Davis committed an error, taking a 5-0 lead amid a two-out onslaught. Moncada went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, while also striking out twice.
"I felt good," Moncada said. "Yesterday, I felt a little nervous. Today, I felt more confident. It was exciting to get my first hit in the big leagues. It's a big step." More >
No no-no: The A's did not go home empty-handed, taking away Porcello's bid for a shutout quickly after sealing their first hit. Following Smolinski's double, Bruce Maxwell plated him with a single, giving Oakland its first run of the night. A quiet A's offense has totaled just 19 runs over the last eight games for an average of 2.4 per game over that span.
Porcello steady yet again: While the perfect game was erased, it shouldn't take away from Porcello's sturdy performance, another in a long line in the second half this season. The righty efficiently worked through the A's lineup and finished seven innings for the eighth straight start. Porcello leads the Majors in wins, and he is the first Red Sox player to reach 19 wins in his first 22 decisions of a season.
"For the second consecutive night, in tonight's case it was Rick, to go out and set the tone for us," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of the starting pitching. "I don't know if you anticipate 16 consecutive batters to be retired when you start a ballgame. But once again, a lot of strikes. Quality pitches."
Betts joins elite company:Mookie Betts became the second player in Red Sox history to hit 30 or more homers and tally 100 or more RBIs prior to turning 24 years old, joining Ted Williams following a two-run double in the first inning. More >
"Tommy [Mclaughlin] gave me the ball. He said, 'Here, take this ball you hit off the guy with the funny mustache.'" -- Moncada, on the Red Sox's clubhouse manager giving him the ball after his first hit
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox:Eduardo Rodriguez (2-6, 5.35 ERA) starts Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET in the finale of a three-game series at the Coliseum. The southpaw missed 12 days in August with a nagging left hamstring injury, but Rodriguez has been solid when healthy in the second half of the season, posting a 3.22 ERA over his last eight starts. He gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings in his last start, a loss to the Royals on Aug. 28.
A's:Kendall Graveman, who has a 3.36 ERA over his last 17 starts, get the ball in the series finale. He's made two career appearances (one start) against Boston, allowing a combined two earned runs across seven innings for a 2.57 ERA. First pitch is 1:05 p.m. PT.