OAKLAND — The Red Sox have never lost seven straight road games to open a season before. Facing good pitching will do that to a team. Brett Anderson was terrific tonight, throwing a slider that disappeared on the Red Sox hitters.
He went eight innings and threw only 109 pitches, 69 of them strikes. “He’s get to two strikes and finish us off with breaking balls that were really good,” Terry Francona said.
Anderson also benefited a very good move to first base that the Red Sox thought was illegal. When he picked off Dustin Pedroia in the fourth inning, Francona was ejected for arguing for a balk.
“The rule is you can’t deceive. He went in two different directions. He started to the plate, changed his mind, landed towards the plate. For me it was a balk all the way,” Francona said.
There was another moment of controversy in the eighth inning. After David Ortiz singled, Jacoby Ellsbury came in to run. With Mike Cameron at the plate, Ellsbury took off on a 3-2 pitch.
Cameron struck out on a check swing and stepped in front of the catcher, Kurt Suzuki. Ellsbury was then called out. On the replay, it looked as though Ellsbury clearly beat the tag. Second base umpire Andy Fletcher never made a call.
According to Francona, bench coach DeMarlo Hale was told that interference was called at first. Then he was told Ellsbury was out stealing. Francona said he wanted a clarification.
Crew chief Tim Welke said the following:
“There was no interference. Ellsbury was out sliding into the base. The call was delayed because the second base umpire was waiting to see if the batter had walked.”
Carl Crawford and Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to extend the inning before Darnell McDonald struck out.
The Sox then let the game get away as Dan Wheeler, Hideki Okajima and Alfredo Aceves allowed four runs in the bottom of the eight inning.
Okajima, in his 2011 debut after being called from Triple A, allowed three runs on two hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning. Okajima had a 2.40 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in his first two seasons in the majors. He has a 4.10 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP since.
John Lackey (1-1) was an undeserving loser, giving up one run in six innings. The run scored on a single, a stolen base and two groundouts.
“I thought he did tremendous,” Francona said. “They problem was we didn’t score. It’s been a long week for him. I know the layoff was tough on him and he did a great job.”
Lackey, who threw 93 pitches, wanted to go back out for the seventh inning.
“I just work here,” he said.
It was a shaky day behind the plate for Saltalamacchia. He allowed two runners to steal, one of this throws nearly going into left field. He also bounced one throw back to the mound and in the eighth inning let a one-hop throw to the plate get away.
Jason Varitek is expected to catch tomorrow. Francona has been alternating the catchers for the last eight days.