Lester had one of his worst starts this year. He only lasted five and two-thirds innings, and he gave up three runs on six hits while walking six and striking out only five. This start pushed his ERA over 2.00; it’s now 2.27.
Lester gave up two walks and a single in the first. He gave up another walk in the second. He had a one-two-three third. He gave up two singles and a home run in the fourth; that put us down by three. He gave up another walk in the fifth. He gave up a double, walk, and single while recording two strikeouts. And then he was replaced by Tazawa, who recorded the final out of the sixth.
Objectively speaking, Lester’s start really wasn’t that bad. He made one mistake, which resulted in the three-run home run. Other than that, he was just very inefficient and didn’t have his usual control or command. He had substantial trouble finding the strike zone, and his walks reduced his efficiency. So that’s how stellar a pitcher he is. There are pitchers out there whose best day doesn’t even come close to Lester’s start last night.
Tazawa secured the first two outs of the seventh and allowed a double followed by a single, which scored a run. Miller then came in, finished the seventh. Uehara came out for the eighth and gave up a solo shot before getting through the rest of the frame with flying colors. Bailey had a fantastic ninth; three up, three down, all via the swinging strikeout.
The A’s scored in three innings: three runs in the fourth, one in the seventh, and one in the eighth. We only scored in two innings, and we barely scored enough to compensate for the runs allowed by the relief corps. But the fact is that we got through it, so we picked up the win. Still, as long as the relief corps gives up runs late in the game, I will continue to make note of the fact that no good can come of it, win or no win.
Before and after the fourth and fifth, we had no scoring opportunities or rallies to speak of. But those were some great innings. It began modestly enough with a groundout by Pedroia. Then Papi and Napoli hit back-to-back doubles that resulted in our first run. Gomes walked but was out at second thanks to a force by Middlebrooks that still put runners at the corners. In the end, it didn’t matter where anyone was standing; Drew hit a bases-clearing triple. The frame ended with a strikeout by Ross.
Ellsbury led off the fifth with a single, stole second, and scored on a double by Victorino. Pedroia singled, and runners were again at the corners; Victorino scored on a single by Papi. After a pitching change, Napoli got hit to load the bases. Nava came in to pinch-hit for Gomes and singled in Pedroia. Then we went down in order.
Half of our ten hits were for extra bases. Pedroia went two for five, Papi went two for four, and Nava was a perfect two for two. Papi played an essential role in our rallies; it’s so good to have him back. We also had two walks to our credit en route to a 6-5 win.