E-Rod's stellar outing, bats lift Red Sox over A's
By Jane Lee and Alex Espinoza
OAKLAND -- Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez helped the Red Sox avoid a four-game series sweep at the hands of the A's, matching his career high with eight innings pitched as the offense went to work in a 12-3 victory at the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
Rodriguez allowed three runs on six hits, including Chad Pinder's second homer in as many days, a two-run shot in the fourth inning. Pinder also doubled in the second, scoring on Josh Phegley's base hit. After Pinder's homer, though, Rodriguez retired 10 straight batters and 14 of his final 15. He fanned eight, issuing only one walk.
"I feel more confident," Rodriguez said. "I feel like I can throw all my pitches right where I want them."
The Red Sox got on the board early with help from one of three A's errors on the day behind starter Andrew Triggs, who was on the hook for six runs (five earned) in 5 1/3 innings -- marking just the third time in nine starts he's allowed more than three earned runs. The right-hander yielded eight hits, among them Mitch Moreland's third home run of the series, and totaled three walks and seven strikeouts.
"Coming in here, you say, three out of four to them, and you'll take it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Granted, once you win three games, you get greedy and want to win the last game. They were pretty persistent today."
"It was a really good series for us," Triggs said, "I'm just frustrated I wasn't able to put an exclamation point on it."
If it wasn't for the long half inning, which ran an estimated 35 minutes, Rodriguez likely would have been able to go out for the ninth in pursuit of his first complete game. The 24-year-old only needed 98 pitches to get through his outing.
"Every starter wants to go nine innings," Rodriguez said. "I want to go back out there, but they hit the ball pretty good in that inning and I had to get out of the game. What else can we do? I'll take it. If we score more runs, then we have a better chance to win."
Red Sox manager John Farrell said he's encouraged by the progress he's seeing from Rodriguez, as the young southpaw navigates through his third season with the Red Sox.
"I can't say it's one area," Farrell said. "It's the total development and maturity of Eddie Rodriguez."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Taking advantage: Fielding errors haunted the A's from the start, and the Red Sox capitalized. After Triggs walked Mookie Betts to open the game, Dustin Pedroia sent a blooper to right field that fell in front of Mark Canha, who sent an errant throw wide of second base. The speedy Betts raced all the way home for the game's first run, with Pedroia landing on second. Pedroia would advance to third on a wild pitch and score on Andrew Benintendi's sacrifice fly.
"It gets you off to a slow start, and there's psychology to not playing good defense, so it didn't do Triggsy any help," Melvin said. "Then he battled for a while, and really the Moreland homer kind of took the wind out of his sail. But defensively, it costs you when you don't play good defense, especially when you get off to a bad start.
"It kind of permeates in the dugout, and you know you have some work to do offensively against a pretty tough pitcher."
Small ball: Following Pinder's two-run homer, the Red Sox spoiled Triggs' pursuit of a shutdown inning with help from a perfectly executed hit-and-run single off the bat of Pedroia. Vazquez christened the fifth inning with a base hit, stole second and made it to third on catcher Phegley's throwing error. Betts sent him home for the tying run on a base hit and scored all the way from first when Pedroia sent a sharp grounder through the left side, just past the reach of shortstop Adam Rosales, who a split-second before had shifted from his position to cover second on the hit-and-run play.
"Today we were able to string some hits together, string some innings together," Betts said.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Pedroia (2-for-5, run scored, RBI) extended his hitting streak against the A's to 24 straight games. It stands as the longest active hitting streak by any player against a single opponent.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Boston will travel back to the East Coast and rest Monday before opening a three-game set against Texas on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Moreland is set to face the Rangers for the first time since signing a free-agent deal with the Red Sox this past offseason. Right-hander Rick Porcello (2-5, 4.23 ERA) will take the hill as he tries to recapture his American League Cy Young Award-winning form of 2016.
A's: The A's will enjoy an off-day Monday before resuming play at the Coliseum on Tuesday against the Marlins. Right-hander Jesse Hahn gets the ball in the two-game Interleague series opener, scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.