Justin Duchscherer’s one-hit shut out pushes Oakland to the 3-0 win; gives Boston 16th road loss


Justin Duchscherer’s one-hit shut out pushes Oakland to the 3-0 win; gives Boston 16th road loss

(May 24, 2008) – On the night where the Celtics ended their six-game, playoff road losing streak on the back of Kevin Garnett, the Red Sox fall to 10-16 on the road with a 3-0 loss to the Athletics. The former Red Sox prospect, Justin Duchscherer was making his first career start against his old team and held them hitless until the top of the seventh inning when David Ortiz lined a base hit into right center. But it was not enough and the 30-year-old recorded his fourth win of the season.

To start the game, Duchscherer mowed down the first 15 Sox batters until hitting catcher Jason Varitek with the first pitch in the top of the sixth inning. Until then the Oakland right hander retired the Sox with 12 flyballs, two strike outs and one ground out. But Boston starter Josh Beckett pitched an impressive seven innings allowing just two runs one seven hits while striking out nine Athletics.

The A’s got to Beckett in the second inning when, first baseman Mike Sweeney led of the inning with a bloop double down the right field line. The outfield Sweeney, Ryan, would sacrifice the first baseman over to third with a bunt for the first out of the second. Right fielder Emil Brown hit a bouncer to shortstop Alex Cora. Cora tried to come home to get the not-so-fleet-of-foot Sweeney but the throw was late and Sweeney was safe at the plate and Brown was safe at first. Red Sox killer second baseman Mark Ellis singled into right center moving Brown up to second; but the one run was all the A’s got after Beckett got Kurt Suzuki to line out to left and struck out Jack Hannahan for his first strike out of the game.

Beckett kept his team in the game but the Sox’s potent offense hit a power outage and could not scrap anything together against the tall and lanky right hander. Even after Duchscherer hit Varitek in the right thigh to lead of the sixth inning, center fielder Coco Crisp became the Oakland starter’s fifth strike out victim before retiring Cora and Jacoby Ellsbury on an infield fly and ground out, respectively. It would be deja-vu in the seventh as well after Ortiz took a one-out offering to right center for the Sox’s first hit of the game. Duchscherer retired both Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell with fly outs to right to end the inning.

In the bottom of the inning, Ryan Sweeney added another insurance run for the Athletics when he took a 1-0 Beckett offering to right center for his second homerun of the season. The sox starter was able to get out of the inning without any further damage being done but the game was over for Beckett and he turned the game over to reliever Manny Delcarmen.

Delcarmen did not fair much better. Pitching the eighth inning, the right handed set up, gave up a one out base hit to Oakland defensive replacement Rajai Davis. Davis advanced into scoring position for the ever dangerous Frank Thomas, with his fourth stolen base. Delcarman walked Thomas before giving up a base hit to Mike Sweeney to drive in Davis with the A’s third run of the game. Huston Street came on in the top of the ninth and retired the Sox in order for his 10th save of the season and that was all she wrote for the Sox.

Fresh off his first complete game and 18th no-hitter in Red Sox history, Jon Lester makes his third start against the Athletics this year opposing Oakland right hander Joe Blanton. Blanton is coming of a 7-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays where he pitched six innings allowing four runs on six hits while striking out five but did not factor into the decision. The A’s righty has already faced Boston two times this year (once in Japan and once in the United States) and is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA, six strike outs and a 1.37 WHIP in 11.2 innings. Sox batters are hitting at a .292 clip against him in 2008.

Things have not gone all too smooth with Blanton this year. At 2-6, he will be looking for his third win of the season when he opposes the Jon Lester tomorrow afternoon in the Bay Area. So far this year, Lester is 3-2 with a 3.41 ERA, 42 strike outs, 31 walks and a 1.30 WHIP. Like Blanton, this will be the third time the Sox lefty will face the Athletics this year. Lester is currently 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA and seven strike outs in 10.2 innings against Oakland in 2008 and A’s batters are hitting just .216 against him.

WIN: Justin Duchscherer (4-3)

LOSS: Josh Beckett (5-4)

SAVE: Huston Street (10)


Game Notes:

After going 0-for-4 in last night’s 8-3, Manny Ramirez gets a mental health day and will be replaced in left by Jacoby Ellsbury and in the order by Kevin Youkilis. Ramirez is trying to capture that elusive 500th career homerun but has struggled as off late. His last homerun came on May 12 against the Twins in Minnesota but his struggles pre-dates even that. In the month of May, the Sox slugger is 15-for-77 (.195), 114 percentage points below his career average for May. Not only his average down but so too are his doubles (3), homeruns (2) and slugging percentage (.312).

Before the game, Ramirez fooling around taking ground balls at shortstop and surprisingly according to Nick Carfardo he has fielded them all cleanly.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Justin Duchscherer, OAKLAND --- 8IP, 1H, 0ER, 0BB, 4K
  1. Mike Sweeney, OAKLAND --- 2-4 Double, RBI
  1. Josh Beckett, BOSTON --- 7IP, 7H, 2ER, 0BB, 9K

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