OAKLAND — Three hits, that's it?
On a day when the Red Sox needed a win to head home with at least some measure of self respect, they had three hits in a 3-2 loss?
“Our offense has just been terrible. Don't want to sugarcoat it, it [expletive], basically,” Cody Ross said.
Raise your holiday drink to an honest man. The Red Sox scored 14 runs on their 2-5 road trip against the Mariners and Athletics and hit a collective .200. They were 5 of 44 (.114) with runners in scoring position and were held to two or fewere runs in six of the games.
Over 66 innings, the Sox had 12 extra-base hits and struck out 49 times.
The Red Sox started the day with the second-most runs in the American League and the third-highest OPS.
“There’s really no words for it. It’s baseball,” Ross said, “As good as our offense is, to get three-hit today. It’s crazy. We’re playing two teams that are sub-.500 and get the crap beat out of us. Can’t dwell on it, though. We’re all pressing; we’re all trying to get something going.”
Only one of the runs on Wednesday was legitimate. That came in the fourth inning when David Ortiz mashed a high fastball from rookie A.J. Griffin over the fence in right field. It was the 400th home run of his career, the 22d this season.
“I know at some point in my career, when I’m not playing baseball, I’ll look at it from the other side and be like, ‘I had a good career.’ But to look at it right now, it’s just another home run,” a subdued Ortiz said.
Manager Bobby Valentine regretted that Ortiz couldn’t enjoy the special moment more.
“David’s a team guy. He knows it’s a great individual accomplishment, we all know that,” he said. “But now it’s tarnished.”
The Sox took a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez, who has hit safely in 15 consecutive games. Ortiz walked, took second on a two-out error, and scored on the single.
Aaron Cook (2-2) allowed three runs over six innings, a performance that usually would net a victory. But with his teammates providing little support, it was one run too many.
Former Red Sox players drove in nine of the 12 runs Oakland scored in the series, adding further embarrassment to the results.
The Sox are 7.5 games behind the first-place Yankees, matching their biggest deficit of the season. The teams meet four times this weekend before the All-Star break.
Perhaps the sight of their rivals will resuscitate the Red Sox.
“We need something,” Ross said.
• Valentine used Franklin Morales, a starter since June 17, to get four outs out of the bullpen. He kept the deficit to a run, but the final 10 Sox batters went in order. Morales, who threw 19 pitches on what was his day to throw in a bullpen session, will start the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Yankees.
• The latest from Will Middlebrooks: “I want to play and I want to give it a go. It’s better than it was. We’ll see on Friday. But I want to try.”