OAKLAND — The A’s opted for the big-picture takeaway from their four-game series with the Boston Red Sox.
They won three of four from a team expected to be a major player for an American League postseason berth, though the weekend’s final chapter didn’t play out as planned.
Oakland surrendered 15 hits and committed three errors in a 12-3 drubbing by the Red Sox that prevented the A’s first four-game home sweep of Boston in 85 years.
If anything, Sunday’s rout proved how an aggressive base running team like Boston can exploit the A’s weaknesses when they play their ‘Mr. Hyde’ version of defense. The Sox stole four bases and gladly took an extra 90 feet whenever the opportunity presented itself.
The first three games of this series featured some nice defensive moments for the A’s, but Sunday they reverted to some bad habits, pushing their major league-high error total to 42.
“It gets you off to a slow start, and there’s a psychology to not playing good defense,” manager Bob Melvin said. “… It costs you when you don’t play good defense. It kind of permeates in the dugout and you know you’ve got some work to do offensively off a pretty tough pitcher.”
Boston lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1), who carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning in a September game at the Coliseum, went eight innings Sunday and held the A’s to three runs, striking out eight.
Still, as the A’s broke for a rare day off in the middle of a homestand, Melvin wanted to make sure he delivered a message to his team:
“It was a good series,” he said. “Enjoy the off-day. Coming in here, if you say give us 3 out of 4 (against) them, you’ll take it. Granted, once you win three games you wanna get greedy and win the last game.”
Andrew Triggs (5-4) didn’t have his sharpest outing, allowing five earned runs and three walks over 5 1/3 innings, but he sure wasn’t helped in the field. The tone was set in the first, when Dustin Pedroia blooped a single to right field and Mark Canha’s throw back to the infield was wide of everybody. That allowed Mookie Betts to score all the way from first. In the fifth, Betts was running on the pitch, from first base, and motored all the way around to score on Pedroia’s perfectly executed hit-and-run.
That was the inning that Triggs said he regretted after the game. Chad Pinder’s two-run homer in the fourth had given the A’s a 3-2 lead, only to have Boston come right back the next inning and jump back ahead.
“It was a really good series,” Triggs said. “I’m just frustrated that I wasn’t able to put an exclamation point on it.”
The last time the A’s completed a four-game home series sweep of Boston came exactly 85 years ago Sunday. That was in 1932 — the year Babe Ruth “called his shot” against the Cubs in the World Series — when the A’s still played their home games at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park.