OAKLAND -- Eduardo Rodriguez stopped the A's Marcus Semien's eighth-inning comebacker with his foot and frantically spun to try to find it. He was four outs from his first career no-hitter and only the second no-hitter in the Majors this season.
Rodriguez finally located the ball at his feet and threw to first baseman Hanley Ramirez. He said he was cautious not to throw the ball too hard for fear the throw would get away. And because of that, the Red Sox's left-hander prepared for the worst right away.
"It was close, but I knew he was safe," Rodriguez said.
Semien was called out -- at least initially. But a replay review overturned the call, sinking Rodriguez's bid for history. The A's won the game, 1-0, an inning later, with Danny Valencia scoring on a walk-off error after left fielder Brock Holt bobbled a Khris Davis double off the wall.
"He was outstanding today," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Rodriguez. "Unfortunately he gets a ball off the shoe he can't find, and that's the end of a potential history-making day."
Farrell visited the mound after Semien was awarded the single, left Rodriguez in the game and watched as he retired Jake Smolinski on another comebacker to the mound. Rodriguez threw a season-high 110 pitches and struck out five, delivering what Farrell called the best start he's seen from the young lefty.
The Red Sox have known Rodriguez has talent. Harnessing it -- and staying on the mound every fifth day -- has been his issue.
Rodriguez no-hit the Orioles through four innings on Aug. 16, striking out seven before exiting the game with a hamstring twinge. He had offseason knee surgery, setting back his progress this season.
"Earlier in the year, I had problems with my knee, and it was mental," Rodriguez said. "Now I feel normal in my body."
He showcased a powerful fastball on Sunday, seeing his velocity increase as the game went on, and he consistently pitched the A's on the inside half of the plate.
"As the game went on, he even picked up some power," Farrell said.
Rodriguez received some help, notably in the seventh inning, when rookie third baseman Yoan Moncada snared a Billy Butler grounder and Ramirez retired Stephen Vogt despite bobbling a chopper. And he helped himself, barely snaring Ryon Healy grounder that bounced over his head.
He also dueled with A's starter Kendall Graveman in a scoreless game throughout.
"Eddy threw such a great game," said Craig Kimbrel, who took the loss in the ninth. "It's disappointing. I thought we should've had a sweep here."
Kimbrel threw just five pitches. With the loss, Boston fell out of first place in the American League East, trailing the Blue Jays by one game. After three games against the Padres starting on Monday, the Red Sox play their final 23 games within the division.
Having a reliable Rodriguez will go a long way.
"In the bigger picture, Eddy's start today is extremely important to us as we continue to build out this rotation over the final three to four weeks here," Farrell said.