OAKLAND -- Kendall Graveman, at least momentarily, regained his footing Friday night.The A's right-hander, struck for a game-tying three-run homer off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second inning, settled down to retire his next 11 batters. Then the Red Sox turned their lineup over, and with it
OAKLAND -- Kendall Graveman, at least momentarily, regained his footing Friday night.
The A's right-hander, struck for a game-tying three-run homer off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second inning, settled down to retire his next 11 batters. Then the Red Sox turned their lineup over, and with it went the script Graveman so desperately wanted to write.
He was lifted following a string of three straight singles to open the sixth, and reliever Emilio Pagan's first pitch to Mitch Moreland was launched for a go-ahead grand slam, leaving Graveman and the A's on the wrong end of a 7-3 affair at the Coliseum.
At the conclusion, it was necessary to look past an April loss to baseball's best team -- Boston improved to 17-2 -- and break down Graveman's latest doings. A closer look shows more good than bad.
"I thought he threw as well as we've seen him throw all year," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I thought this was his best outing. He mixed his pitches a lot better, they were off-balance for the most part. When you struggle, you've got to make some adjustments, and he made some adjustments."
Seeking simplicity, Graveman showcased a modified delivery, keeping his hands near his belt rather than bringing them over his head. His location was subsequently better, and he found that he disrupted the opposition's timing, too.
"I think I'm going to stay with that," he said. "Any way you can disrupt timing at the plate, I think it's an advantage. I'm trying to grow and learn, and I think that can help me move forward in my pitching."
For now, Graveman is sitting on a 10.07 ERA. He's allowed at least four runs in each of his five starts, unable to complete six innings in any of them. The A's, who have lost four of the five games he's started, couldn't score after a three-run first, their four-game winning streak coming to an end.
The opening frame against ex-Athletic Thomas Pomeranz featured the first of four Jed Lowrie hits on the night, an RBI double, and also included run-scoring hits from Matt Olson and Mark Canha.
A shutdown inning escaped Graveman, who surrendered his seventh homer of the season in the second, before rattling off 11 consecutive outs. Even after yielding back-to-back singles to Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi in the sixth, Graveman believed a double-play ball to be in the cards. Instead, Hanley Ramirez sent one through the left side to load the bases for Moreland.
Pagan grooved a slider that floated in the middle of the plate, clobbered by Moreland for Pagan's fourth homer allowed in his last four games.
"It was a terrible pitch, and obviously that kind of pitch in that situation, that's one they're going to jump on," Pagan said. "It's a shame, because I thought Kendall threw a good game, and if I do my job, then his box score looks a lot better and we probably come out on top. It's just frustrating right now. It seems like one pitch in each of my last few outings has been one that's kind of crushed me."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The A's threatened in the seventh, sparked by Lowrie, of course. Following his one-out double against Hector Velazquez, Khris Davis was hit by a pitch to put two aboard for Matt Chapman. Oakland's third baseman struck out, and the Red Sox turned to lefty Christopher Johnson to face Olson, who reached on an infield single to load the bases. Boston then went to righty Matt Barnes, while the A's countered with pinch-hitter Matt Joyce. The count ran full, before Joyce whiffed on a fastball to end the frame.
Lowrie, who doubled twice and finished with four hits, leads the Majors with 32 hits and 22 RBIs.The four hits catch his career high, accomplished eight times.
"Pretty impressive," Melvin said. "Kind of running out of superlatives to talk about him. Everybody was pulling for him to get the fifth hit."
HE SAID IT
"We all believe in Kendall. He's got great stuff. More so than anything, that was good for him to have a good couple innings there, to get on a roll and in a good rhythm. It stinks that the one bad pitch I threw to Moreland ends up crushing his box score." -- Pagan
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
A three-run homer was on the table when a crew-chief review was issued with two outs in the first inning. Chad Pinder's long drive to right field was ruled foul, a call that stood following the replay, and the A's left fielder struck out looking to end the inning.
Two of the month's top lefty performers will square off in Saturday's 6:05 p.m. PT matchup: the A's will send Sean Manaea (2-2, 1.63 ERA) to the bump, while the Red Sox counter with their ace, Chris Sale (1-0, 1.23). Manaea has allowed two runs or fewer and completed at least five innings in each of his first four starts, most recently going seven and holding the Mariners to one run in his last outing.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.