OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics gifted David Ortiz a Big Papi-sized bottle of wine before Friday night’s game. The veteran designated hitter reciprocated by driving in three runs in the Boston Red Sox’s 16-2 thrashing of their hosts.
Courtesy of a bout of back tightness, starter Andrew Triggs lasted only 24 pitches and one inning.
“I think he’s doing alright. It’s just some lower back tightness that he was battling,” Melvin said. “At that point in time in the season — with what we’ve gone through — we certainly don’t want to push him and hopefully it’s just a few days and we get him back out there pretty soon.”
The rookie, who’s pitched his way to a rotation spot, said his back has bothered him “here and there” in the past few weeks.
The relief crew didn’t fare much better than Triggs, as the Red Sox hammered four A’s relievers for 15 runs in their eight innings of work.
Thanks to a fourth-inning sacrifice fly from Billy Butler and a run-scoring double off the bat of Stephen Vogt, the game was actually tied 2-2 heading into the fifth. That’s when the Red Sox strung together three two-out doubles — including one from Ortiz — to jump out to a 6-2 advantage.
In the sixth, the Red Sox hung a five-spot on the board, highlighted by a three-run homer from Travis Shaw which sailed into the seats above the out-of-town scoreboard in right. The visitors tacked on three more in the eighth and added one final run in the ninth.
Following Friday night’s beatdown, the Red Sox have now outscored Oakland 56-17 in their four meetings.
“They end up making you pay,” Melvin said. “They’re first in the league in runs, RBI, on-base percentage, everything.”
— Sean Manaea, who exited his Monday start in the top of the fourth with a sore back, played catch with DL’d starter Sonny Gray on Friday afternoon. Melvin wouldn’t say when the rookie will rejoin the rotation.
“He felt better. I don’t think we’re in a position to forecast when he’s going to start again,” Melvin said. “He feels better and that’s important.”
— Henderson Alvarez is set to start for the High-A Stockton Ports on Saturday afternoon when he’ll throw up to three inning. The right-hander, who hasn’t pitched in a big league game since undergoing shoulder surgery last summer, is making his third appearance in his third rehab assignment.
When asked if the outing would be Alvarez’s final one before debuting with the A’s, Melvin struck a cautious tone.
“You know, I don’t make those decisions,” Melvin explained. “I know he’s progressing along again and he’s going to pitch tomorrow, but that’s as far as I’ll go with where he’s going to be after that.”
— Even with the yard-markers still visible on the Coliseum grass, Melvin praised the “super human” work of head groundskeeper Clay Wood and his staff to ready the playing field. Still, Melvin joked he couldn’t bring himself to watch much of the Raiders preseason finale on Thursday night.
“I saw a little bit of it,” Melvin said. “I turned my HD off so I can’t see the divot marks and how the field was getting beat up. I took my glasses off and all those things kind of allow me not to see the field in the pristine state it is usually in.”