Sean Manaea didn’t hold the Boston Red Sox hitless again, but the Oakland Athletics got some much-needed power from players looking to break out of slumps, and ultimately came away with a 6-5 win in the series opener at Fenway Park.
Matt Joyce, Matt Olson and Khris Davis all went deep to combat a Boston offense that lived up to its billing in the offense-friendly confines that the Red Sox call home.
Joyce’s fourth home run of the year — a third-inning shot off Rick Porcello — gave Oakland (20-21) an early lead, and after the hosts answered with a two-out, two-run rally in the bottom of the third, it was the bottom of the A’s lineup that came through with the go-ahead response rally.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy sent a two-out, two-run double into the left field corner to put his team ahead 3-2, and rookie Dustin Fowler followed with his first career triple and RBI to pad the lead.
As would be the case all night, that extra run was critical. Sandy Leon — who entered the night batting .159 — singled to open the bottom of the fifth and came around to score on a Hanley Ramirez grounder. Olson responded with his fifth homer of the year in the top of the sixth, but Boston (28-13) answered again in the bottom of the seventh when 21-year-old Rafael Devers cleared the Green Monster. After Leon reached on an uncharacteristic Matt Chapman error — his second of the night — Manaea was relieved by Yusmeiro Petit, who dispatched the top three hitters in the Red Sox order with ease.
Davis’ 12th homer of the year — an opposite-field shot off reliever Carson Smith — briefly restored a two-run lead, but J.D. Martinez answered with a homer of his own in the bottom half with a ball that barely eluded Mark Canha’s glove. Petit took care of the rest of the inning, and after Brian Johnson dispatched the A’s in the top of the ninth, Blake Treinen took care of business in the bottom half, getting Devers to ground out, inducing a flyout from pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland and getting Mookie Betts to ground out to end the game for his seventh save.
Though Manaea allowed four runs for a third consecutive start and yielded a season-high eight hits, he earned his fifth win of the year with the support of an offense that had amassed a total of three runs in his prior two starts. Porcello, who entered the night with a 2.79 ERA, suffered his first loss of the year, allowing five runs on nine hits.