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Sports

Red Sox Sweep A’s In A Soggy Doubleheader

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David Ortiz, Brandon Allen

By HOWARD ULMAN

AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) – After nearly 11 hours from the first pitch to the
last, the Boston Red Sox could finally rest and dry out after a
rain-delayed doubleheader sweep of the Oakland Athletics on
Saturday.

“I remember this one at bat, I got water dripping out of my
helmet. So you have the water, you have the ball coming,” David
Ortiz said. “You just stick with it.”

The Red Sox won 9-3 and 4-0 as Ortiz went 5 for 8 with three
runs and four RBIs. He hit a two-run homer in the nightcap as four
Boston pitchers held Oakland to three singles. There was a one-hour
delay in the top of the fifth.

In the opener, Jason Varitek hit a two-run homer and Jon Lester
allowed three hits in six innings. That game was delayed twice _ by
45 minutes after the sixth inning and by 2 hours, 15 minutes after
the seventh.

“Pretty much a miserable day. The weather, the field
conditions, everything,” Athletics third baseman Scott Sizemore
said. “Four rain delays – or how ever many there were – kind of
takes away any momentum you’re trying to get going.”

The first game was moved up to noon from 1:10 p.m. to make room
for the second game that was rescheduled from Sunday to avoid
Hurricane Irene’s effects. The opener actually started at 12:02
p.m. and the nightcap ended at 10:58 when center fielder Jacoby
Ellsbury caught Cliff Pennington’s fly ball.

Erik Bedard allowed two singles in four innings in Game 2 before
being replaced when play resumed by Alfredo Aceves (9-1), who
pitched three hitless innings. Daniel Bard allowed a single in the
eighth before Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth.

“We were really fortunate the way it worked out,” Red Sox
manager Terry Francona said. “We won. We used every (relief)
pitcher once but (Franklin) Morales and he threw a little bullpen
and he’s been used a lot. It worked out really well. Now we can let
the guys regroup.”

The Red Sox don’t play again until Tuesday night when they open
a three-games series at home against New York. Boston, 8-3 in its
last 11 games, increased its AL East lead to two games over the
Yankees, who had a doubleheader at Baltimore rained out.

With no common off day with the Athletics the rest of the
season, the Red Sox wanted to avoid a rainout.

“We knew it had playoff implications and they had to try and
get it in,” Sizemore said.

Fans with tickets for the scheduled 5:05 p.m. start were allowed
through the turnstiles during the second delay in the opener. The
game ended at 6:08 and the nightcap began at 6:52.

The Red Sox allowed just three runs and 11 hits to an Oakland
team that had averaged nine runs in its previous four games.

“Based on the way we’ve been swinging the bats lately (they
pitched) really well,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin said.

In Game 2, the Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second against
Graham Godfrey (1-2) when Dustin Pedroia doubled and Ortiz hit his
27th homer. They made it 3-0 in the fourth on consecutive singles
by Pedroia, Ortiz and Jed Lowrie, and an RBI groundout by Jarrod
Saltalamacchia.

They scored their final run in the sixth off Josh Outman. Lowrie
reached second on a two-base throwing error by Sizemore. After Carl
Crawford flied out, Saltalamacchia hit a popup to short right
field. First baseman Brandon Allen ran back but, as he looked up
into the rain, the ball bounced off his glove and he fell.
Saltalamacchia was credited with an RBI double.

Bedard walked just five batters in his other four games with
Boston but walked four of his first seven Saturday night. His last
batter, Anthony Recker, singled for his first major league hit
before play was halted in the fifth.

In the opener, Lester (14-6) allowed two runs, one of them
earned, walked two and fanned four, improving to 7-0 with a 1.54
ERA in nine afternoon starts.

“His cutter’s been tremendous,” Francona said. “Once it
rained, he was through.”

Lester started under bright skies but heavy rain fell on and off
during the middle innings.

“The conditions were really bad. The mound wasn’t bad, but
anytime you took the ball out of your glove it was wet,” he said.
“I had no grip. I was trying to tell the umpires that. Maybe the
second time it went to the backstop made them realize it wasn’t
safe.”

Ortiz added a pair of doubles and drove in two runs and Mike
Aviles collected three singles for Boston.

Allen hit a solo homer for the Athletics.

The second delay of the opener came after Varitek bounced weakly
to the mound.

Crew chief Tim McClelland told a pool reporter between games
that the first game had to end before the second could be started.

“Yes. That’s what Joe (Torre) told me,” McClelland said.

Torre is the executive vice president of baseball operations.

“To play the second game, we’ve got to play the first one,”
Francona said. “We’ve done it the other way a couple of years ago
against Minnesota.”

In April 2009, Boston led Minnesota 10-1 when the game was ended
by rain after seven innings so the teams could get ready for the
second game.

“That was an aberration,” McClelland said. “I talked to Joe.
According to the rules, that can’t happen or shouldn’t happen.”

In the opener, the Red Sox scored three runs in each of the
second and third innings against Guillermo Moscoso (6-8) to open a
7-2 lead. With two outs in the second, Josh Reddick walked before
Varitek homered. Ellsbury added an RBI double.

Moscoso gave up eight runs – seven earned – nine hits and walked
a pair without striking out anyone.

Boston moved ahead 1-0 in the first on Pedroia’s RBI single, but
Allen’s homer tied it in the second.

NOTES: Adrian Gonzalez’s third-inning double in the opener gave
him a career-high 183 hits. … Francona said that RHP Clay
Buchholz, a key part of the rotation who has been on the DL since
June 17 with a strained lower back, will be re-examined in “the
next couple of days. But even if the examination is good, he’s not
allowed to throw until (Sept. 1).” … The A’s recalled Godfrey
from Sacramento in between games and sent pitcher Jerry Blevins to
the Triple-A team . … The Red Sox will send John Lackey (12-9) to
the mound Tuesday night against the Yankees. Oakland resumes play
Monday with Brandon McCarthy (7-6) facing David Huff (1-2) of the
Indians in Cleveland.

   (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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