The Oakland Athletics used the long ball to get their six-game homestand started on the right foot and hope to continue flexing their muscles when they host the Boston Red Sox on Friday for the second contest of their four-game series. Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis and Chad Pinder all went deep in the opener as Oakland topped Boston 8-3 for its fifth win in six home contests.
Davis’ blast was his second in four games and 12th overall this season, tying him with Yonder Alonso for the team lead. The Red Sox managed only six hits in the series opener as they fell to 2-1 on their six-game road trip. Dustin Pedroia recorded two of the hits and Mitch Moreland homered for Boston, which had its three-game winning streak away from home come to an end. Pedroia has registered a hit in 13 of his 16 contests this month, producing four multi-hit performances along the way.
TV: 9:35 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), NBC Sports California (Oakland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Chris Sale (4-2, 2.15 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Kendall Graveman (2-2, 3.95)
Sale is looking to win his fourth consecutive start and tie a major-league record in the process. The 28-year-old Floridian fanned 12 batters over seven innings in a triumph over Tampa Bay on Saturday, marking the seventh consecutive start in which he reached double digits in strikeouts - one shy of the mark he shares with Pedro Martinez. Sale has made seven starts and five relief appearances against Oakland in his career, going 5-2 with one save and a 2.60 ERA.
Graveman is seeking his first victory since April 8, as he has gone 0-2 over his last five turns. The 26-year-old native of Alabama escaped with a no-decision on Sunday after yielding four runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings at Texas - just the second time in seven outings he surrendered more than two runs. Graveman owns a 1.35 ERA in three career appearances (two starts) against Boston but has yet to record a decision.
1. Athletics 3B Trevor Plouffe has hit safely in nine of the last 10 contests in which he had a plate appearance after going 3-for-4 on Thursday while INF Ryon Healy is riding a six-game hitting streak.
2. Alonso sat out the opener with a sore left knee and will be sidelined through at least Saturday.
3. Boston designated INF Chase d‘Arnaud for assignment and transferred RHP Steven Wright (season-ending knee surgery) to the 60-day disabled list to make room for RHP Hector Velazquez, whose started Thursday after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Pawtucket.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 7, Athletics 5