Athletics leverage strong third inning to defeat Red Sox

The visiting Oakland Athletics scored three runs in the third inning and added on in the late innings to beat the Boston Red Sox 5-2 on Wednesday.

Lawrence Butler and Max Schuemann each had two hits to lead Oakland, which had lost back-to-back games and three of four.

Butler hit a two-run double in the key third inning, while Schuemann scored two runs in the game.

JP Sears (6-7) worked 114 pitches deep for his second straight win, striking out eight across 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball.

After allowing just one baserunner through two innings on Butler’s one-out single in the second, Boston starter Nick Pivetta (4-6) struggled with command during a 27-pitch third as the A’s jumped out to a 3-0 lead that proved to be all the offense they needed.

Jarren Duran (3-for-5) and Ceddanne Rafaela (2-for-4) each had multiple hits for the Red Sox. Rob Refsnyder homered.

All of Oakland’s damage in the third came with two outs. Shea Langeliers walked with the bases loaded to score Schuemann, who had hit a one-out single and stole second.

Butler made it a 3-0 game when he lined a two-out, two-run double to the opposite field in the left-field corner.

Sears, who worked through a bases-loaded jam in a scoreless first, settled in with the lead.

The A’s southpaw retired 10 straight after Connor Wong drew a two-out walk to load the bases in the first until Jamie Westbrook reached on an error in the fifth. Westbrook, though, was cut down on a relay to the plate on Rafaela’s double off the top of the center-field wall.

Despite the loss, Pivetta’s 6 2/3-inning outing saw him strike out 10, including eight in a row from the third through sixth frames.

However, the Boston starter didn’t receive any run support until Refsnyder’s solo homer into the first section of Green Monster Seats to begin the sixth.

Additional two-out offense helped Oakland’s lead grow to 4-1 in the seventh. After Schuemann’s single, JJ Bleday scored him on a rocket of an RBI double to center.

Boston’s half of the seventh saw Tyler O’Neill’s infield single cut the deficit to 4-2, but reliever Lucas Erceg stranded the bases loaded. Josh Winckowski got the Red Sox out of their own bases-loaded jam in the eighth, limiting the damage to one run on Tyler Nevin’s sacrifice fly.

Mason Miller struck out two in the ninth to record his 15th save, including Wilyer Abreu on a 103-mile per hour pitch to end the game.

–Field Level Media