A’s manager Bob Melvin clearly got the message after Tuesday’s first game of the Wild Card Series in Oakland: don’t throw a lefty at this Sox offense. They also got on the board first, and kept scoring to force a winner-take-all third game on Thursday at the Coliseum.
Yasmani Grandal homered for the second day in the row, this one a two-run shot of A’s closer Liam Hendriks in the 8th inning. He’s one of the few Sox players with postseason experience coming into this season, and he’s led the way with his pair of homers through the first two games. He also worked a bases-loaded walk to allow Jose Abreu to come up with the bases loaded in the 9th.
Luis Robert and Adam Engel, two newcomers to the postseason, got base hits, but the Sox couldn’t muster much offense against the A’s starter Chris Bassitt. The former Sox draft pick, traded to Oakland in 2014, only allowed six hits on the day…
…with Tim Anderson getting two of them off Bassitt, and three on the day. Usually when Anderson gets multiple hits, it bodes well for the Sox offense, but the guys behind him couldn’t get the hits needed to drive in runs. Yoan Moncada came close in the fourth, with a line drive to the wall in left-centerfield caught by a leaping Mark Canha with two on and no one out. The rally fizzled from there with no runs scored.
Jimmy Cordero and his biceps did a fine job holding the A’s at five runs on the board to give the Sox offense a chance in the late innings. Dylan Cease and Codi Heuer followed that up with a clean inning each, as well. Engel helped Heuer out with a terrific sliding catch in shallow right field to lead off the bottom of the 8th.
Dallas Keuchel didn’t have it today. He left too many balls up in the zone and Oakland’s hitters jumped on them and hit them hard. Even some of the outs he got were hard-hit balls. He was tagged with all 5 runs, 3 of them earned, allowing 6 hits; two of which were home runs in just 3.1 innings of work.
Yoan Moncada took the ohfer today with a pair of punchouts, but he was robbed of extra bases in the fourth, and at least one run batted in when his drive into the gap was caught at the wall. He’s still looking for his first postseason hit, and he’ll have another chance Thursday in game 3.
The Sox made it very interesting late, but it was too little too late as Oakland snapped their 6-game postseason losing streak. There’ll be a win-or-go-home game 3 Thursday in Oakland.