OAKLAND -- Brett Anderson's dominance of the Red Sox continued Tuesday night, as did Boston's road woes.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona was ejected and his team's three-game win streak came to an end in a 5-0 loss to the A's. Boston has lost its first seven road games for the first time in club history."It's awful early," Francona said of the troubles away from Fenway Park. "It's a small sample, but their guy just pitched a great game tonight. They're a hot staff right now." Oakland starters have allowed just one earned run in their last 33 2/3 innings. Though he's just 23, Anderson already has quite a history against the Red Sox: four wins in six starts and a 2.08 ERA. "Pretty good crowd tonight," Anderson said of the 25,230 announced at Oakland Coliseum. "It's kinda different, kinda like pitching in Boston almost, pitching in a big environment. I don't really know what contributes to that success. Their lineup's pretty potent one through nine." Anderson allowed just four hits and one walk in eight innings Tuesday opposite John Lackey, and Lackey, despite a 10-day layoff and early struggles this season, pitched very well. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out three in six innings. Lackey was less than pleased this week after his previous start was skipped -- the result of a rainout last week -- and felt he could've gone another inning Tuesday. He threw 93 pitches. The game's only run for the first seven innings came in the opening frame. Coco Crisp stole second base after a leadoff single and scored on consecutive groundouts. Oakland led, 1-0, until the bottom of the eighth, when Hideki Okajima was charged with three runs and Dan Wheeler with one. When Boston had its chances, they disappeared on the basepaths. Dustin Pedroia, who drew Boston's only walk of the night, was picked off at first base with Adrian Gonzalez up and none out in the fourth inning. Francona and Pedroia both thought that Anderson balked, and Francona was quickly tossed by plate umpire Jim Reynolds. Three days earlier, Francona said he was not interested in being ejected while the team was struggling. "The rule is that you can't deceive. I mean, he went two different directions," Francona said. "Started toward the plate, changed his mind, landed toward the plate. For me, it was a balk all the way." "It's hard to believe that they couldn't see that," Pedroia said. "That part's upsetting. That's a runner on second, nobody out." The eighth inning was what stung most for the Sox, in the top and bottom halves. David Ortiz broke through for Boston's first hit since the first inning to start the frame, with Boston still down 1-0. Jacoby Ellsbury pinch-ran and attempted to steal second on a full-count slider that Mike Cameron struck out on. Cameron was called out on a half swing immediately by Reynolds, but there was no out or safe call from second-base umpire Andy Fletcher on Ellsbury's steal attempt. Eventually, Ellsbury was ruled out. Why, though, had some in the Red Sox's clubhouse plenty confused afterward. Initially, it was believed that Cameron had interfered with A's catcher Kurt Suzuki's throw. The right-handed Cameron walked in front of Suzuki toward the Boston dugout on the first-base side after he was rung up, though Suzuki's throw was still on the money. So close was the physical play at second base that crew chief Tim Welke, the third-base umpire, told a reporter after the game that Ellsbury was called out because the throw had beat him. Replays showed Ellsbury was safe and there was no out call by Fletcher. "I guess he got that one wrong," Cameron said. "I didn't even think I swung. Then they call him safe. I guess we'll never know because nobody will own up to that."
Ellsbury thought he only would've been out had Cameron interfered. In the immediate aftermath of the game, the official score remained a batter's interference call and not a caught stealing."I'm confused a little bit," Francona said, "I'd like to get a little bit more of a clarification. I guess when [bench coach and acting manager DeMarlo Hale] went out [to talk to the umpires], 'D' said, 'What do you got?' And [an umpire] said interference. ... 'D' went out in between innings, and [the umpires] said 'No, no interference, they called him out at second.' So I'd like to find out what really happened. "I never saw a call made at second. They looked to me like they were covering up a little bit." The Sox kept pushing against Anderson. Carl Crawford beat out a grounder to short to keep the inning alive, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a line-drive single to bring up No. 9 hitter Darnell McDonald. He struck out on three pitches, the last a slider. Crawford did not attempt to steal off Anderson, a decision Francona said was left to Crawford himself. "With a lefty especially, we'll never force a guy to run on a pitch, but he can go anytime he wants," Francona said. Boston still might have had a decent chance in the ninth were the score still 1-0. Anderson, at 109 pitches, was finished. After the debacle in the top of the eighth, though, Oakland tacked on four runs. "We didn't do much," Francona said. "We needed a break and we didn't get anything. And when you talk like that, obviously you're not doing a lot."