A few exorcised demons, a sentimental moment and a tight finish all added up to give the Oakland Athletics a 5-3 win in Boston on Tuesday night, clinching their first series victory at Fenway Park since 2012.
Right fielder Stephen Piscotty’s home run off Eduardo Rodriguez, in his first at-bat since returning from bereavement leave, was one of six hits the A’s got off the left-hander, who had stymied them in three previous outings. Though not considered one of the elite Red Sox arms, Rodriguez had allowed just eight hits and four runs in three previous outings against Oakland. After a hour-and-42-minute rain delay, the A’s wasted little time getting to him, with Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder singling to lead off the game. Both came around to score on Matt Chapman’s two-run double, and Piscotty’s third homer of the season made it 3-0 in the second.
It was the second time Piscotty has come through after personal tragedy. On May 8, he singled in his first at-bat after his mother, Gretchen, passed away after a yearlong battle with ALS.
Piscotty missed the trip to New York on bereavement leave, and returned to the team after Monday’s celebration of life service in Pleasanton.
Just as he did before his first at-bat back, he touched his hand to his heart as he rounded the bases — the gesture that Gretchen used to represent gratitude throughout her battle with the neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Boston (28-14) got an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth and a solo shot by Andrew Benintendi in the fifth to claw to within one, but that’s all the hosts would muster against Daniel Mengden. The right-hander earned his third win of the year, scattering eight hits over six innings without allowing a walk.
In his last six starts, Mengden has a 2.62 ERA in 34.1 innings of work, with 24 strikeouts. During that span, he’s allowed one earned run or fewer four times.
Lou Trivino came in to preserve the one-run lead for Oakland (21-21), and the rookie was brilliant yet again, working around a two-out Benintendi double in the seventh. He returned to the mound for the eighth with a three-run cushion after Mark Canha’s two-out, two-run double off reliever Bobby Poyner, and once again took care of business, allowing just a two-out walk to Mitch Moreland.
Pitching for the fourth time in five days, closer Blake Treinen encountered adversity in the ninth but powered through it. Rafael Devers struck out to start the inning, but the wild pitch bounced over the backstop, allowing him to reach base. Brock Holt followed with a double, but Treinen settled in from there. A run scored on a Mookie Betts groundout, but Benintendi flew out to center and Hanley Ramirez grounded out to end the game. Betts, who entered the night leading the AL in batting average, went 0-for-5.
Should the A’s win tomorrow, with Trevor Cahill coming off the disabled list to face Chris Sale, it would be the team’s first sweep at Fenway since 1990.