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Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Lawrence Butler, Oakland A’s beat Boston Red Sox 5-2

By meerna Jul11,2024
Lawrence Butler, Oakland A’s beat Boston Red Sox 5-2

Oakland Athletics’ Lawrence Butler celebrates after hitting a two-RBI double in the third inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Wednesday, July 10, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON — Lawrence Butler scored with a double to power J.P. Sears through a solid outing that lifted the Oakland Athletics to a 5-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night.

Butler had been struggling recently, but went 2-3 on his 24th birthday, helping Oakland to its first win over the Red Sox this season after four straight losses.

Since returning from Triple-A Las Vegas on June 18, marking his second stint with the A’s this year, Butler was 12-for-52 (.231) with three home runs and eight RBIs in
18 games before Wednesday. All three home runs had come in his previous seven games.

“It’s definitely a confidence builder,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay told reporters Wednesday when asked about Butler. “I was thinking about that during the game. The two balls he hit today, if you go back two weeks ago, three weeks ago, he was calling them strikes. He wasn’t aggressive, he wasn’t trying to exploit that side of the field, and the two balls he hit tonight were rockets.”

Kotsay said Butler’s double-shot into the corner “was a key moment and a huge change in the dynamic of the game.”

“You like seeing results come so quickly, but it also requires an open mind and the willingness to make some changes, and for a young player that’s difficult.”

Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta (4-6) lost despite having eight strikeouts in a row, tying a Red Sox record for the second time. He also struck out eight straight Detroit Tigers on May 30. The only other Red Sox pitcher to accomplish that feat was Roger Clemens, who struck out a record-breaking 20 hitters against Seattle on April 29, 1986.

Pivetta went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out 10, reaching double figures for the 15th time in his career and third time this season.

“It was a weird game, wasn’t it? We got those runs and then I think we had eight more strikeouts,” Kotsay said. “(Pivetta) has had a pretty good year. He’s got the ability to strike out with the breaking ball and he’s used it really well.”

Sears (6-7) pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. Oakland All-Star rookie Mason Miller earned his 15th save with two strikeouts in a scoreless ninth inning.

Oakland scored three runs in the third inning as Max Schuemann and Miguel Andujar singled before Brent Rooker and Shea Langeliers got the next two outs to force a run. Butler’s double made it 3-0.

The A’s added a run in the seventh inning when J.J. Bleday’s two-out double scored Schuemann. They scored again in the eighth inning against right-hander Josh Winckowski when Rooker led off with a ground-rule double, followed by a single by Langeliers and a walk to Butler, which set up a sacrifice fly by Tyler Nevin.

Rob Refsnyder hit the opening home run for Boston in the sixth inning. Tyler O’Neill had an RBI infield single in the seventh inning before All-Star slugger Rafael Devers grounded out with a bases-loaded single to end the inning.

UPCOMING RETURNS?

Ross Stripling and Paul Blackburn are inching closer to returning to the rotation, although rust and Hurricane Beryl have put a damper on their plans.

Both veterans appeared in Stockton Tuesday night as part of their rehab stints with the Single-A Ports, but neither played a full inning.

Stripling, who has been sidelined since May 1 with a strained right elbow, started the game and allowed two hits (including a home run) and two runs (one scored), walked one and recorded a strikeout as one of two outs in a 24-pitch appearance.

Blackburn, who was recovering from a stress reaction in his right foot, threw 23 balls in his first appearance since May 10 and had two outs and a strikeout, but he walked his first two batters and allowed two hits and three runs.

Kotsay said both pitchers threw a dozen more balls to the bullpen to reach their goal number of pitches.

By meerna

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