Making his first start since May 20 after being activated from the DL, Felix Doubront got off to a rocky start, but shook it off and came back with four scoreless innings for the Red Sox on Friday against the A’s.
After Brandon Workman’s six-game suspension was upheld, the Red Sox had an opening in the rotation and decided it was time to get Doubront back into the mix after missing the last month due to a shoulder strain.
After a one-out walk to Yoenis Cespedes in the first inning, the A’s had two runners on early. Josh Donaldson then crushed a 1-1 pitch to the left field stands to quickly put the Sox in a 3-0 hole.
The Red Sox bats got two runs back in the top of the second, and Doubront tossed a 1-2-3 bottom to get back on track. David Ortiz added another with an RBI single in the third to make it a 3-3 game.
Doubront hit Craig Gentry to lead off the bottom of the third, then stole second with one out. A walk to Cespedes put two on for the A’s, but Donaldson flew out to left and Derek Norris struck out to keep the game tied.
Doubront retired the first two batters he saw in the bottom of the fourth, but an error by Xander Bogaerts allowed Alberto Callaspo to reach. A walk to No. 9 hitter Nick Punto put the go-ahead run in scoring position before Gentry flew out to left to end the frame.
A great diving play by Bogaerts and a strikeout of Cespedes secured the first two outs of the fifth, but after Doubront walked Donaldson, John Farrell decided he’d seen enough. With Deerek Norris coming to the plate, Farrell brought in Burke Badenhop. Another nice grab by Bogaerts ended the inning and closed the book on Doubront.
The lefthander’s final numbers for the night were 4 2/3 innings pitched, allowing three runs on two hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Doubront was able to work through the three-run homer he allowed in the first and pitch effectively the rest of the way. The Red Sox can only hope that he continues to improve as he readjusts to pitching at the big league level and can be another addition to an already strong pitching staff.