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Final: Red Sox 5, Athletics 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  April 20, 2011 03:34 PM

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Game over: Red Sox 5, Athletics 3

That was a tightrope walk. Papelbon allowed an RBI single by Powell but struck out pinch hitter Josh Willingham and then got Pennington to pop to short.

That's four wins in five games for the Sox.

Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 5, Athletics 2

David Purcey retired all six batters he faced. Now Papelbon needs three outs for his third save.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 5, Athletics 2

Jenks struck out Ellis before walking Powell. Singles by Andy LaRoche, Pennington and Crisp cut the lead to 5-2. Jenks struck out Barton with a curveball, one of the lesser-seen pitches in his repertoire.

Francona didn't mess around, bringing in Papelbon. He fanned DeJesus on five pitches, the last a splitter in the dirt. Pap has struck out nine of the 21 batters he has faced this year.

Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 5, Athletics 1

DeJesus did it again, making a terrific sliding catch into foul territory to snag a ball off the bat of Lowrie. He has played some impressive right field these two days.

Jenks in or Bard. Francona has it lined up.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 5, Athletics 1

Strong work by Bard, who allowed a two-out single by Matsui then got Sweeney on a tapper to first base. He got five big outs. Jenks is heating up now.

Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 5, Athletics 1

Drew lined a rocket over the fence in right off Jerry Blevins. DeJesus climbed the wall but the ball escaped him. First of the year for J.D.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Athletics 1

That's how you use your bullpen. Sweeney doubled before Power and pinch hitter Conor Jackson walked. With one out and Buchholz drowning, Francona called in Bard. He struck out Pennington before getting Crisp to pop to short.

Crisp ripped a foul ball to left that was just inches away from a double.

Now the Sox have to come up with nine more outs. I would think Bard stays in with Jenks and Papelbon to follow.

Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 4, Athletics 1

Jed Lowrie or Jed Williams, to be precise did it again. After Gonzalez singled, he ripped a Gonzalez curveball over the fence in left center for his third homer. He now has 11 RBIs this season. The shot came just as a heavy rain started to fall. It's like he's Roy Hobbs. Only not old.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 2, Athletics 1

Another strong start for a Red Sox starter. Buchholz so far: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. The Sox have struck out eight times against Gonzalez but have chipped away at him with six hits. Francona will want to line up Jenks, Bard and Papelbon as soon as he can.

Middle of the 4th: Red Sox 2, Athletics 1

Youkilis homered to left center, his third of the season. Lowrie followed with a single but two fielder's choices and a 5-4-3 double play ended the inning. Varitek is having a tough season at the plate so far.

Middle of the 3rd: Red Sox 1, Athletics 1

Gonzalez struck out the side outside of walking Pedroia. He has fanned six of the 12 batters he has faced.

Middle of the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Athletics 1

The Red Sox had some great swings against Gonzalez in that inning. Youkilis went the other way and singled to right. Lowrie also went opposite field and crushed a ball to the corner in right that DeJesus made a great leaping catch on.

Scutaro followed with a single and Crawford with an RBI single to left. With Scutaro at third, Varitek struck out swinging and Crawford was throwing out stealing second to end the inning.

Top of the 2nd: Athletics 1, Red Sox 0

Gonzalez disposed of the Red Sox on 16 pitches, striking out Drew and Gonzalez The Buchholz's first pitch was ripped to right field by Crisp. It hit the top of the fence and bounced over.

He has allowed six home runs already, three fewer than last year. Remember all those balls that just missed last year? They're all going over this year.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from Oakland, where the Sox will face the A's under overcast skies.

The press room food in Oakland is worse than what they served Al Capone over at Alcatraz, so I ventured out to the concession stands. Much to my surprise, there was a stand that offered linguica sandwiches. Linguica, for those who don't know, is a Portuguese cured sausage that is a huge favorite in my hometown of New Bedford.

Had no idea it was big in Oakland, too. Linguica is fantastic, by the way. Great as a sandwich, with rice and beans, with eggs or on pizza. Try it.

As for the baseball. the Sox get another lefty and Clay Buchholz seeks his first time. Hang out here for updates. Please feel free to add your comments.

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