Red Sox stun A's with 7-run 8th to cap sweep
BOSTON -- The Red Sox came roaring back with their best comeback of the season on Sunday afternoon, completing a three-game sweep of the Athletics with a 7-4 victory at Fenway Park.
Trailing, 4-0, entering the eighth, Boston erupted for a seven-spot to flip the game. Xander Bogaerts put the Red Sox ahead with a two-out, two-run double off the Green Monster against A's closer Tyler Clippard.
"He did a good job of staying inside that pitch running into him and kept it fair and hit it off the wall," said Clippard, who threw a changeup. "I wasn't mad about the execution. He took some poor swings on my fastball throughout that whole at-bat, and I felt like I did a good job reading his swing up until that last pitch. I probably should've thrown him a fastball."
Entering the game, the Red Sox were 1-27 when trailing after seven. It is the first sweep of the season for Boston, and the comeback came against an Oakland bullpen that has struggled this season.
"I remember looking at the scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth, 4-0, just trying to think how we can get some runs," said Bogaerts. "It was probably the biggest win for us this year, for sure."
The A's scored three in the second and one in the fourth against Clay Buchholz and were in complete command until the stunning penultimate frame.
After five straight solid starts, Buchholz labored, throwing 102 pitches over 4 2/3 innings and allowing 10 hits and four runs. He was replaced by knuckleballer Steven Wright, who helped make the rally possible with 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief. A's starter Kendall Graveman fired seven strong innings (plus one batter in the eighth), retiring 13 straight at one point while giving up six hits and a run.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Castillo ignites game-turning rally: Rusney Castillo got the big rally started by leading off the eighth with a solo homer over the Monster, his first of the season. And it was Castillo who put the finishing touches on the outburst, lining an RBI single to left.
"Obviously it's a good feeling," said Castillo. "It's a lot of preparation and work and staying disciplined and things finally worked out the way we wanted them to." More >
No relief in sight: The A's bullpen imploded in the eighth, allowing six runs on seven hits, to erase a 4-1 lead handed over by Graveman, who departed after giving up a solo shot to Castillo to begin the fateful frame. The typically reliable Evan Scribner allowed singles to each of his three batters and, after Drew Pomeranz allowed a sacrifice fly to David Ortiz, Clippard was brought in for a potential five-out save. Instead, he allowed four straight two-out hits, including Bogaerts' go-ahead two-run double.
"With the way Scribner and Clippard have been pitching, you feel like you're in a good position," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Graveman pitched great. That's as long as he's gone, and we have our best guys rested down there. Just didn't work out." More >
Sandoval returns with two hits: After getting two consecutive days off due to offensive and defensive struggles, Pablo Sandoval returned to the lineup with two hits. Sandoval laced a single over the head of Athletics left fielder Mark Canha to keep the rally alive in the eighth.
"Yeah, it helped a little bit," Sandoval said of the breather. "It kept me more fresh. I didn't think too much out there. I did the things I know how to do. That's what I tried to do today." More >
Graveman shows grit: Graveman not only completed a career-high seven-plus innings but stranded five baserunners in his first three, before setting down 13 of his final 14 batters. The right-hander allowed just six hits to a Red Sox lineup that tallied 11 in each of the first two games of this series. He also struck out six, tying a career high. More >
"If he threw me a high fastball, I would have struck out."
-- Bogaerts, on looking changeup all the way before belting a two-run double in the eighth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The seven runs and eight hits in the eighth were season bests by the Red Sox in any frame this season, and it was the first time they overcame a deficit of more than three runs.
Athletics: Major League ERA leader Sonny Gray (7-2, 1.65 ERA) will be on the mound when the A's open a three-game series against the Rangers at the Coliseum on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.
Red Sox: Following an off-day on Monday, the Red Sox open a three-game series at Camden Yards against the Orioles on Tuesday at 7:05 ET. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who has been magnificent in his first two starts, pitches the opener.
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