Athletics top BoSox for 9th win in row
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)
As best as he can, Bob Melvin keeps his mind from wandering to what the upstart Oakland Athletics might accomplish by season's end if they keep going like this. Josh Reddick insists it goes for him, too.
That's OK, everybody else is doing plenty of scoreboard watching for the A's as this overachieving club tries to get back to the postseason for the first time in six years.
In one impressive 10-day stretch, Oakland (76-57) is suddenly in a tie with the New York Yankees for the second-best record in the American League behind the two-time reigning AL champion Texas Rangers (79-54).
''It's crazy,'' pitcher Brett Anderson said. ''Who would have predicted that Sept. (2) that we'd be tied with the Yankees for the same record? Everything's working right now: offense, defense, pitching. When that's happening, special things are going to happen.''
Anderson (3-0) won his third straight start since returning from a 14-month absence to recover from Tommy John surgery. Having him back is a big boost for the AL wild-card leading A's down the stretch after they lost Bartolo Colon to a 50-game suspension Aug. 22.
Reddick added a sacrifice fly and Yoenis Cespedes drove in a run with a groundout for the A's. They have the club's longest winning run since 10 in a row from June 8-18, 2006, in the last year they reached the playoffs.
Oakland has 29 games left, including seven against Texas and all but six contests with Seattle coming against opponents with winning records.
''We're not looking too far ahead,'' Reddick said. ''I don't think we're going to worry about who we're tied with right now. All that matters is when that last game of the year comes along, where we're at at that point.''
The A's won their eighth in a row against the Red Sox to match their longest winning streak in the rivalry since the Philadelphia A's did so May 2-28, 1932. The 8-1 record against Boston also set an Oakland single-season mark, topping the previous 9-3 by the 1971 and `88 teams and an 18-3 mark by the 1928 squad.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-4) had another rough day in the right-hander's second straight short start at the Oakland Coliseum. On July 2, Dice-K allowed five runs in one-plus inning while dealing with a stiff neck. This time, he was tagged for a season-high six runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked four in his second-shortest outing after that previous start here.
''We don't have the firepower to keep climbing out of big holes early,'' Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine said. ''It's a tough way to make a living.''
Drew, acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 20, also hit an RBI single in the third and an eighth-inning double for his first three-hit game for Oakland. Coco Crisp walked twice, scored two runs and stole his 31st base.
The A's outscored the Red Sox 33-5 in the series and hit nine home runs — five of those in Friday night's 20-2 rout, two Saturday and two more Sunday. That after hitting four in the series finale at Cleveland on Thursday. Oakland has outscored opponents 72-22 during the winning streak.
Anderson allowed one run on five hits in six innings, struck out four and walked one in another impressive day since returning from his injury — even if he raised his ERA from 0.64 to 0.90.
Anderson, who improved to 5-2 in eight career starts against the Red Sox, was given an extra day because the schedule worked out to do so and Melvin wants to be especially cautious with the left-hander after all the time he missed.
He faced two over the minimum through five innings and was done after running into trouble in the sixth, when he got a big save from his defense.
After Dustin Pedroia reached on an infield single in the sixth inning that was stopped from going for extra bases by diving third baseman Josh Donaldson, Cody Ross hit an RBI single. Scott Podsednik tried to score from second but left fielder Cespedes grabbed Ross' one-hopper and fired home to catcher Derek Norris to save a second run.
Mauro Gomez hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth for the Red Sox. Boston dropped its sixth straight and remained winless on this West Coast swing, which finishes with a three-game series at Seattle beginning Monday.
''It's unacceptable,'' Ross said.
Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a first-inning single.
''We're not playing good baseball by any means,'' Pedroia said. ''We're really not doing anything well.''
NOTES: Oakland lost at Fenway Park on April 30, then won the next eight meetings with the Red Sox this year. ... Dice-K threw 97 pitches during his short outing. ... Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury got a scheduled day off. ... Oakland RHP reliever Andrew Carignan, who had Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery June 19, said he will begin throwing with a sock Oct. 7 as part of his rehab, then likely a regular program in November. He plans to spend the offseason in Arizona instead of his home state of Connecticut. ... Boston recalled INF Ivan DeJesus Jr., another player from the Dodgers trade, from Triple-A Pawtucket. ... The A's raised $53,600 for breast cancer education and research through their annual breast cancer awareness day. ... Lefty Tommy Milone (11-9) pitches Monday for the A's against Angels LHP C.J. Wilson (10-9). ... Drew had a three-hit game vs. Pittsburgh on Aug. 7 while with the D-backs.