BOSTON -- The Red Sox and A's didn't sit through three hours' worth of rain delays in the afternoon so they could finish Saturday with just one game in the books.
Hurricane Irene made her entrance into Boston, but not full-bore, and it took one more delay in the nightcap for the Sox to complete a doubleheader sweep, 4-0. The final pause was an hour long and arrived with just three outs standing between an official game and one that never happened.
They did manage a full nine innings, though, and at the end of the seemingly interminable day, the first-place Sox couldn't have been feeling better. They're heading into a three-game series with the Yankees, who sit two games back in the American League East.
Boston also has two days off to energize, courtesy of Irene and a scheduled off-day Monday.
"Well I mean, we'll use it to our advantage. That's what we always try to do," manager Terry Francona said of the break. His team won the opener of the doubleheader, 9-3. "We were really fortunate the way it worked out. We won, we used every pitcher once but [Franklin] Morales, and he threw a little bullpen and he had been used a lot. Now we can let the guys regroup, because they're going to need to. This has been a long haul here."
The Sox just have to hope that the layoff doesn't cool off David Ortiz. Their designated hitter went 3-for-4 with a two-run opposite-field homer in the second inning off Oakland starter Graham Godfrey, and went 5-for-8 with four RBIs on the day. Ortiz is hitting .522 on a season-high 12-game hit streak, that includes a stint on the DL in the middle of it.
"Chill at the house," Ortiz said of his hurricane plans. "Watch TV, watch a lot of movies, and laugh at the guys that are going to be playing on Sunday."
What was encouraging about Erik Bedard's fifth start since joining the Red Sox was his ability to work around four walks in four innings. Discouraging was the fact that his knee bothered him and that his control -- as well as his velocity -- was missing early.
"Oh, yeah, it was a little bit [bothersome] at first," said Bedard of his knee. "But then it warmed up and settled down, and I got through a couple more innings."
Bedard missed a month this year with a sprained left knee. Still, were it not for the weather, he might've taken his first win with the Sox. Run support has held him back previously: coming into the night, he had gotten the least help of any Sox starters since Aug. 1.
Alfredo Aceves instead took the win, his ninth, and well-earned. He struck out three in as many innings, allowing just one walk.
"When you only go four and you have the bullpen shut it down for the rest of the game, that's awesome," Bedard said. "Aceves went three innings, and I don't even know if he gave up a hit."
Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon teamed for the eighth and ninth, despite the non-save situation.
Before the endgame, it wasn't impossible that a 3-0 lead, as well as Ortiz's home run, could be wiped from the record books.
Oakland had a runner on first and none out when the game entered a delay in the top of the fifth. If the home team is winning, the top of the fifth must be completed for a rained-out game to be official. Otherwise, the game would have to start fresh at a later date, if at all.
Once the game resumed, Boston's arms sealed it. The Sox tacked on the last run of the night in the sixth, on a two-out Jarrod Saltalamacchia RBI double down the right-field line. A's first baseman Brandon Allen, a powerful hitter but not swift in the field, had the ball pop out of his glove as rain continued to fall.
"I don't know if the conditions got to us a little bit, that's no excuse, but we've been swinging the bats pretty well," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of an offense that plated 15 runs on Friday, but managed just three hits Saturday night. "Just really couldn't get anything going all day or night."
Now, with the Sox and the Yankees practically locks for the playoffs, the race for the division is still on.
"When we play them, we're 0-0," Saltalamacchia said of his team's 10-2 record against New York. "You can't look too much into that. We've got to play the best game we can possibly play. It's a division rival."