April 21, 2018 / 5:56 AM / 3 months ago

Red Sox top A's for eighth straight on Moreland's slam

Mitch Moreland hit reliever Emilio Pagan’s first pitch of the evening for a tie-breaking grand slam in the sixth inning Friday night, propelling the Boston Red Sox to their eighth straight win, a 7-3 triumph over the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, Calif.

The Red Sox trailed the opener of a three-game series 3-0 after one inning, but quickly evened the score on a three-run home run by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second, setting the stage for Moreland’s game-winning blow four innings later.

Right-hander Hector Velasquez (3-0) pitched three innings of shutout relief to get the win. A’s starter Kendall Graveman (0-4), who loaded the bases in the sixth, took the loss.

Graveman had retired 11 straight batters following Bradley’s homer before Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez singled consecutively to open the sixth. Pagan then came on and immediately served up Moreland’s grand slam, the third of his career and first since 2016. The homer was Moreland’s second of the season.

The A’s jumped on left-hander Drew Pomeranz, making his first start of the season, for three runs in the first inning, catching a break when Matt Chapman struck out for what would have been the third out, except that the ball got away from catcher Christian Vazquez for a wild pitch that kept the inning alive.

The A’s led 1-0 at the time, with Jed Lowrie knocking in the first run. Matt Olson and Mark Canha followed Chapman’s strikeout with RBI singles that made it 3-0.

Graveman retired the first batter he faced in the top of the second, but Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez singled, after which Bradley bombed his second homer of the season to draw Boston even.

Pomeranz, who began the season on the disabled list with a strained left forearm, was pulled two outs into the fourth inning, having thrown 88 pitches. He allowed three runs and five hits in his 3 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out seven.

Graveman was credited with six runs allowed on seven hits in five-plus innings. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.

Velasquez teamed with Brian Johnson, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly for 5 1/3 innings of shutout relief, helping the Red Sox improve to 4-0 on their current 10-game trip while extending the pitching staff’s string of games allowing three or fewer runs to eight straight.

Nunez collected three hits and Ramirez two for the Red Sox, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in which they scored at least eight runs in each win.

Lowrie had four hits, including a pair of doubles, and Olson added a pair of singles for the A’s, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

The Red Sox out-hit the A’s 11-10.

—Field Level Media

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