Oakland Athletics left-hander Sean Manaea has always struggled at Fenway Park. He came in with an era of 13.14 and tonight was no different.
He gave up a leadoff double to the hustling Michael Chavis as center fielder Ramon Laureano attempted to make a diving stop yet wasn’t able to make the play. The only good news for Manaea is that Alex Verdugo bats left-handed as he got him to fly out for the first out. J.D. Martinez jumped on the first pitch from Manaea and singled to center. Xander Bogaerts then homered off the foul pole on the first pitch he saw.
Manaea then got Rafael Devers to strikeout and Christian Vazquez to fly out to center field. After one Oakland trailed 3-0.
Manager Bob Melvin has known that Manaea has struggled pitching in Boston. Still he allowed him to go out for the second inning. Which didn’t get any better as he continued to get hit hard. Hunter Renfroe took an 0-1 pitch and singled off the Green Monster in left. Bobby Dalbec immediately followed with a two-run home run on another pitch that was right there to hit. It seemed like the A’s pitcher refused to adjust to the aggressiveness of the Red Sox hitters.
Boston added more base runners after the home run as Jonathan Arauz walked. Manaea finally got the first out by striking out Chavis. He then got Verdugo to fly out for the second out. Martinez hit a ball hard to Elvis Andrus who couldn’t handle the baseball which kept the inning alive and got ruled an infield single. Bogaerts then doubled to score another run. The inning finally ended when Devers fouled out.
Announcer Dallas Braden believed that Manaea needed to figure things out and get the opportunity to at least go five innings. That was obviously the incorrect notion. Melvin also not reading the situation allowed Manaea to go out for the third inning. So what happened? Three straight singles to load the bases.
Deolis Guerra finally replaced Manaea. The A’s lefty ended his start after throwing two innings and allowing 10 hits and seven runs all earned. Guerra did his job by getting a double play and then a fly out.
Boston added a run on a throwing error by Chapman.
Offensively the A’s got several chances to make the game interesting. Jed Lowrie hit a one out double in the second, yet Matt Chapman popped out and Seth Brown struck out looking. In the third Andrus singled with one out and Mark Canha grounded into a double play.
During the fourth inning Matt Olson walked with two outs and Lowrie ended up grounding out weakly to Garrett Richards. With two outs in the fifth Sean Murphy singled and Andrus walked before Canha created some drama by sticking his arm out in hopes of being hit by a pitch. That clearly upset Richards who sent a message with the next pitch, eventually the count went full and Canha popped out weakly.
It was the sixth inning where the A’s got their best scoring chances. Mitch Moreland opened with a lead off double and Ramon Laureano reached on an infield single to put runners on first and third. Olson worked the count full and flew out to shallow right field. Lowrie walked on four pitches to load the bases. Chapman ends the inning by grounding into a double play. He frustratingly swung at the first pitch of the at-bat that was nowhere near the strike zone.
Canha nearly drove in a run with two outs in the seventh, yet Murphy got thrown out at home to end the inning. Olson did manage to drive in a run in the 8th so the A’s did not get shut out.
Note: Manaea matched Mark Mulder with allowing 10 hits in 2 innings of work.