Archives for April 21, 2018
Boston at Oakland
Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland
OAKLAND – The Boston Red Sox are off to a tremendous start this season and look to continue their success Saturday, when they visit the Oakland Athletics in search of their ninth consecutive victory. Boston rolled to a 7-3 triumph in the opener of the three-game series on Friday to become the fifth team in the live-ball era to win 17 of its first 19 contests and first since Milwaukee in 1987.
Jackie Bradley Jr. forged a tie in the second inning with a three-run homer and Mitch Moreland snapped it four frames later with the Red Sox’s league-leading fifth grand slam in their last 12 games. Boston, which finished last year without a slam, has belted 13 homers while winning each of the first four contests of its nine-game road trip – outscoring the opposition 34-6 in the victories. Mookie Betts finished with just one single on Friday, ending his string of three straight multi-hit performances. Oakland had its four-game winning streak halted, but Jed Lowrie remained piping hot as he went 4-for-5 with an RBI and is 14-for-28 during his six-game hitting streak.
TV: 9:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, NESN (Boston), NBCS California (Oakland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Chris Sale (1-0, 1.23 ERA) vs. Athletics LH Sean Manaea (2-2, 1.63)
Sale has just one victory in four starts this season despite allowing a total of three runs over 16 innings. The 29-year-old Floridian has yet to work more than six innings, however, lasting only five while giving up one run and two hits in a no-decision against Baltimore on Sunday. Sale owns a 5-2 record and 2.60 ERA in eight starts and five relief appearances versus Oakland in his career.
Manaea has been nearly as good as Sale this season, yielding five runs over 27 2/3 innings in four starts. The 26-year-old native of Indiana notched a victory at Seattle on Sunday after giving up one run and two hits in seven frames. Manaea has struggled against Boston in his career, going 1-2 in three starts while surrendering 18 runs and 26 hits (four homers) over 11 1/3 innings.
1. The Red Sox activated LHP Drew Pomeranz from the disabled list to make the start on Friday after optioning RHP Marcus Walden to Triple-A Pawtucket the previous night.
2. Oakland recalled RHPs Josh Lucas and Chris Bassitt from Triple-A Nashville on Friday and optioned LHP Daniel Coulombe to the Sounds.
3. Boston RHP Steven Wright (knee) made his first rehab start for Pawtucket on Friday but lasted only 2 2/3 innings due to back stiffness.
Toronto at Boston
Where: TD Garden, Boston
BOSTON – The last time Original Six rivals Boston and Toronto met in the postseason, the Bruins needed a miraculous comeback in the final minutes of Game 7 before ousting the Maple Leafs in overtime. Five years later, Toronto is in position of needing a miracle comeback of its own, trailing the Eastern Conference best-of-seven series 3-1 heading into Saturday’s Game 5 at Boston’s TD Garden.
The Maple Leafs can look to the past for inspiration — they also trailed the series 3-1 in 2013 before blowing a two-goal lead in the final 90 seconds of Game 7 — but they are lamenting a missed opportunity in Thursday’s 3-1 setback against a Bruins team missing its top-line center. “When (Patrice) Bergeron didn’t play tonight, you’re set up pretty good,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. “You’ve got to find a way to win. This is in our building. You’ve got to win.” Bergeron skated on his own Friday, which was called a “positive” by coach Bruce Cassidy, who said he will make a decision on the four-time Selke Trophy winner’s status at Saturday’s morning skate. Bergeron’s line accounted for 20 points in the first two games at TD Garden as Boston steamrolled Toronto by a combined 12-4 margin.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVAS (Toronto)
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS: Toronto will receive a boost with the return of center Nazem Kadri, a 32-goal scorer during the regular season who received a three-game suspension for a dangerous hit on Boston’s Tommy Wingels in the series opener. “It’s exciting to get back in,” Kadri said. “I’ve been champing at the bit the last couple of games here. It has been hard to watch knowing you could be out there trying to help and trying to make an impact. I’m just happy the time has come.” Kadri’s return will mean a demotion for Tomas Plekanec, who scored the team’s only goal Thursday — his first since he was acquired from Montreal.
ABOUT THE BRUINS: Bergeron, who is up for his fifth Selke Trophy as the game’s best defensive forward, collected five assists in the first two games, but with Riley Nash taking his place, Brad Marchand scored a goal and David Pastrnak continued his brilliant play with two assists to bump his series point total up to 11. Goaltender Tuukka Rask has been overshadowed by the offensive exploits through much of the series but he answered the bell in Game 4 by turning aside 31 of 32 shots in what Marchand termed a “phenomenal game. He’s one of the best goalies in the world and he gives us an opportunity to win every night.”
1. Maple Leafs F Auston Matthews has been held off the scoresheet in three of the four games.
2. Marchand has four goals and 10 points in seven matchups versus Toronto this season.
3. Maple Leafs F Leo Komarov skated Thursday but has missed the past two games.
Boston 7, Oakland 3
Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland
OAKLAND – Mitch Moreland hit reliever Emilio Pagan’s first pitch of the evening for a tie-breaking grand slam in the sixth inning Friday night, propelling the Boston Red Sox to their eighth straight win, a 7-3 triumph over the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Calif.
The Red Sox trailed the opener of a three-game series 3-0 after one inning, but quickly evened the score on a three-run home run by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second, setting the stage for Moreland’s game-winning blow four innings later.
Right-hander Hector Velasquez (3-0) pitched three innings of shutout relief to get the win. A’s starter Kendall Graveman (0-4), who loaded the bases in the sixth, took the loss.
Graveman had retired 11 straight batters following Bradley’s homer before Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez singled consecutively to open the sixth. Pagan then came on and immediately served up Moreland’s grand slam, the third of his career and first since 2016. The homer was Moreland’s second of the season.
The A’s jumped on left-hander Drew Pomeranz, making his first start of the season, for three runs in the first inning, catching a break when Matt Chapman struck out for what would have been the third out, except that the ball got away from catcher Christian Vazquez for a wild pitch that kept the inning alive.
The A’s led 1-0 at the time, with Jed Lowrie knocking in the first run. Matt Olson and Mark Canha followed Chapman’s strikeout with RBI singles that made it 3-0.
Graveman retired the first batter he faced in the top of the second, but Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez singled, after which Bradley bombed his second homer of the season to draw Boston even.
Pomeranz, who began the season on the disabled list with a strained left forearm, was pulled two outs into the fourth inning, having thrown 88 pitches. He allowed three runs and five hits in his 3 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out seven.
Graveman was credited with six runs allowed on seven hits in five-plus innings. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.
Velasquez teamed with Brian Johnson, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly for 5 1/3 innings of shutout relief, helping the Red Sox improve to 4-0 on their current 10-game trip while extending the pitching staff’s string of games allowing three or fewer runs to eight straight.
Nunez collected three hits and Ramirez two for the Red Sox, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in which they scored at least eight runs in each win.
Lowrie had four hits, including a pair of doubles, and Olson added a pair of singles for the A’s, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.
The Red Sox out-hit the A’s 11-10.
–Field Level Media
Milwaukee 116, Boston 92
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE – Khris Middleton had 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 19 as the host Milwaukee Bucks beat the Boston Celtics 116-92 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series Friday night.
Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker scored 17 apiece and Thon Maker had 14 for Milwaukee, which now trails the best-of-seven series 2-1. The Bucks are seeking their first playoff series win since 2000-01, but they’ve never won a series after trailing 0-2.
“We came out (and) just wanted to be the first team that hit first (and) be physical,” Middleton told ESPN after the game as confetti fell from the rafters. “The crowd was great tonight, they got us going.”
Al Horford finished with 16 points, Greg Monroe scored 15 against his former team and Jayson Tatum had 14 for Boston. The Celtics won the first two games of the series, and they’ve never lost in the playoffs after doing so on 35 prior occasions.
Game 4 is Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee.
Parker, who averaged 12.6 points during the regular season, had been held to two points on 1-of-7 shooting over the first two games of the series.
Boston won Game 1, 113-107, in overtime and took Game 2 by a 120-106 result.
Milwaukee shot a blistering 57 percent (45 of 79) from the field while holding the Celtics to 40 percent shooting (32 of 80). Boston outrebounded the hosts 45-37.
Bucks starting center John Henson missed the game with back soreness. Former Celtics big man Tyler Zeller started in his place and had two points and two rebounds in 19 minutes against his former team.
Milwaukee had its foot on the gas pedal from the start, building a 15-point lead after one quarter at 27-12. The Celtics missed 16 of their 18 shots and committed nine turnovers in the period.
The Bucks ran their lead up to 20 early in the second quarter and were up 58-35 at halftime.
After falling behind by as many as 26 in the third, the Celtics showed a little life in getting the deficit under 15 points in the final minutes of the quarter before Milwaukee rebuilt its advantage to 85-67 after three.
Milwaukee led by as many as 28 points in the fourth.
–Field Level Media