BOSTON – (Staff Report) – Boston Red Sox starter Rick Porcello didn’t have his best stuff that he truly possessed on the last day of March or the entire month of April. Heading into tonight’s series opener against the Oakland Athletics, Porcello stepped to the mound with a (5-0) record, a 2.79 ERA, a record on top of the league and an ERA good enough for 10th in the American League.
Sox Carson Smith after Khris Davis HR
The Oakland A’s limped into Fenway with a two-game losing streak and an 8-12 road record but had their ace left-handed pitcher, Sean Manaea, on the mound, the same gut who threw a no-hitter against the Sox on April 1st in Oakland.
The expected pitching dual ended with the A’s taking a 6-5 decision in a semi-home-run derby where Khris Davis’ insurance run HR in the 8th inning, his 12th HR of the season, made the difference. Davis hit a 1-1 pitch which carried into the Red Sox bullpen in right field. It was the A”s third homer of the game, the first two coming on Porcello but the game difference-maker against Sox reliever Carson Smith.
A’s left-fielder Matt Joyce opened up the scoring with a solo home run in the third inning, a set after Porcello escaped from allowing two base hits, and men on the corners with only one out. More damage was done to the former Cy Young Award winner in the fourth as the A’s scored three runs on four hits, including a two-run double by catcher Jonathan Lucroy and a triple by speedster CF Dustin Fowler who knocked in Lucroy but was stranded at third base.
On the night, Porcello went 6.0 innings, allowing nine hits, five earned runs with two homers. He struck-out five, walked none as he threw 108 pitches, 69 for strikes.
Overall, Porcello was not as sharp as he’d been in his first four starts of the season when he won all four starts, threw three shutouts and retired 17 straight against the Tampa Bay Rays in a 10-3 Sox win at Fenway on April 7. Since his fourth win of the year, Porcello earned only one other win (5-1, at Texas, 5.4.18) amongst three no decisions.
Manaea (5-4) was credited with his fifth win of the season after throwing 6 innings (plus two batters), allowing eight hits, four runs (three earned) with one walk and four strike-outs. He threw 89 pitches, 66 for strikes.
For Boston, J.D. Martinez went 2-for-4, with a HR, an RBI in his 18th multi-hit game of the season, trailing only Nick Markakis (19) for the ML lead.