Suzuki’s two homers lead A’s to 9-8 win over Red Sox
BOSTON – Kurt Suzuki and the Oakland Athletics put on a rare power show and held off a potent attack by the Boston Red Sox.
Suzuki had two of his team’s four homers as the A’s hit more than two for the first time this season in a 9-8 win Thursday that featured 32 hits, two injured Oakland players and two Boston runners thrown out at home.
“Our game is more suited for our ballpark,” where it’s much harder to hit homers, A’s manager Bob Geren said. “We pitch well, we run the bases well, spray our hits around. We do timely, situational hitting. We’re not a real big home run team.”
They were on Thursday.
Suzuki homered in his first two at bats against Tim Wakefield (1-4), a solo shot in the second inning and a two-run homer in the four-run fourth. Then, with Oakland leading 7-5 in the eighth, Jack Cust and Kevin Kouzmanoff hit homers on consecutive pitches by Manny Delcarmen, who began the day as the AL leader with a .128 batting average by opponents.
Not bad for a team that entered the game with 33 homers, the third-fewest in the majors, and just eight in their 15 previous games. Oakland had 14 hits, seven of them for extra bases.
The loss left Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez frustrated that his team’s 18 hits – 10 for extra bases and three for homers – weren’t enough to win.
“We had a lot of hits, scored a lot of runs and end up losing the game,” he said, “but on the other side they put really good swings on it and they end up taking advantage.”
It didn’t help that Martinez, in the second, and Darnell McDonald, in the fourth, were tagged out at home by Suzuki when they tried to score on hits to the outfield.
“We had a lot of guys contributing to help us win, but Suzuki had a great day both offensive and defensively,” Geren said.
The homers off Delcarmen made it 9-5 before Boston rallied.
It scored a run in the seventh on Bill Hall’s RBI groundout and another in the eighth on Marco Scutaro’s third homer of the year. Dustin Pedroia followed that with a walk and Martinez singled.
Then Andrew Bailey came in and retired the next three batters, finishing by striking out David Ortiz, who had eight homers in his previous 17 games. Bailey allowed Hall’s solo homer in the ninth but got his 12th save in 14 opportunities. Bailey’s two innings tied a career high.
“I think he was pumped up – Fenway Park, two-run lead, ninth inning, fans are going crazy,” Suzuki said. “It was a good situation for him to be in. He always rises to the occasion, which is what you definitely want in a closer.”
Vin Mazzaro (1-0) got the win after replacing starter Brett Anderson, who left with a sore left elbow, after two innings.
Boston lost a game in which it had 18 hits and 10 extra-base hits for the first time since May 21, 1995, when it also had 18 in a 12-11 loss to Cleveland. On Thursday, Hall had four hits and Kevin Youkilis and Jeremy Hermida three each.
Adrian Beltre’s RBI single gave Boston a 1-0 lead in the first before Suzuki’s homer tied it. The Red Sox made it 2-1 in the bottom of the second on a run-scoring groundout by Scutaro.
Then the A’s scored four runs in the fourth for a 5-2 lead on a two-run double by Mark Ellis and the two-run homer by Suzuki, his seventh of the season.
“I felt great,” Wakefield said. “Unfortunately, I had a bad fourth inning and it cost us the game”
Scutaro hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth, but Oakland scored in the sixth on Gabe Gross’ RBI single. Boston made it 6-5 in the bottom of the inning on Hermida’s fifth homer of the year, a two-run shot before the A’s got a run in the seventh when Ellis, who had walked, scored on third baseman Beltre’s wild throw to first for an error on Rajai Davis’ ground ball single.
NOTES: With the Celtics facing the Lakers in Los Angeles in the opener of the NBA finals Thursday night, the crowd chanted “Beat L.A.” several times during the game. … Anderson allowed two runs on five hits after holding teams scoreless in three of his previous five starts. … Lefties Ortiz and J.D. Drew, two of Boston’s hottest hitters, did not start against lefty Anderson but pinch hit in the seventh. … Wakefield’s six innings gave him 2,769 2-3 in his Red Sox career, second to Roger Clemens’ 2,776.
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