Chavez continues to torment Red Sox pitchingJun 6, 2007 - 8:02 AM OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Eric Chavez continued to ruin the Boston Red Sox's road trip.
Chavez homered and Lenny DiNardo and the bullpen held the Red Sox in check as the Oakland Athletics defeated Boston, 2-0, on Tuesday.
After ending Monday's game in dramatic fashion with a walk-off blast in the 11th inning, Chavez struck early this time by depositing an 0-2 offering from Daisuke Matsuzaka into the left field bleachers in the fourth inning for a 1-0 edge.
Nick Swisher completed the scoring in the fifth with a two-out double scoring Jason Kendall from first.
"He's (Chavez) has been on fire lately," Swisher said. "He's going to do his thing, like he did tonight. If we get him to continue to hit like he did tonight, we're going to be just fine."
"He's just feels better physically right now," Athletics manager Bob Geren said. "That, plus he's a great player. Combine those two and he's going to continue get some big hits for sure."
Seven of Chavez's nine home runs this year have come with two strikes.
"After getting ahead of him 0-2, Tek (catcher Jason Varitek) called for a fastball high and inside," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "I left it over the middle of the plate and that was my mistake. I think it was a preventable home run."
The Red Sox, who still own the best record in baseball (37-20), have lost a season-high three straight and five of their last six games. They have dropped seven of their last eight contests to Oakland.
"The Red Sox are not a team that tends to lose many games in a row," Matsuzaka said. "I definitely felt a sense of urgency to stop the skid."
DiNardo, who was claimed off waivers by Oakland in the offseason after spending parts of the last three seasons with Boston, was making just his second start after 11 relief appearances. The lefthander struggled through six innings, throwing 89 pitches and walking six, but held his former team to just two hits.
"It's gratifying to get the W," DiNardo said. "Especially against those guys, because they are such a solid ballclub. I tried not to look at who they were. I went to battle with those guys the last few years, and if I looked at their faces, it wasn't going to help me at all. I just tried to look at the blue and red uniforms and make my pitches."
"Like many guys on this team he's been given a chance due to injuries," Geren said. "He's been able to take advantage if it. That's exactly what we need. It's going to take everyone to win, and tonight was a great example."
Matsuzaka, who signed a six-year, $52 million deal with Boston during the offseason, struggled in his last two starts, allowing 11 runs in 10 2/3 innings. In his first career start against the Athletics, the righthander labored through seven innings, yielding seven hits, but limited the damage to two runs.
Matsuzaka threw 130 pitches, which are the most by a Boston pitcher since Curt Schilling tossed 133 on April 25, 2006, at Cleveland.
"They made him work hard," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Seven innings, two runs. More often than not we're patting him on the back and saying, 'Great effort.' When you put up a zero, though, offensively, it's tough. Tonight was a night of offensive frustration, not troubled pitching."
Boston threatened in the first but failed to capitalize when Julio Lugo led off with single and Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis walked to load the bases with two out. However, Mike Lowell popped up to left, ending the threat.
The Sox missed another opportunity in the sixth when DiNardo walked Dustin Pedroia, surrendered a single to David Ortiz and issued a free pass to Ramirez to load the bases. Chavez then fielded Kevin Youkilis' sharp ground ball, stepped on third and nailed Youkilis at first to compete the double play and end the inning.
"We certainly had chances," Francona said. "We worked the count, and hit into numerous double plays. The scoreboard certainly shows the effect of that."
Three Oakland relievers bridged the gap to Alan Embree, who recorded his fifth save in six opportunities in the ninth. The Athletics, who have won a season high-tying four consecutive games, moved to three games over .500 (30-27) for the first time this season.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
BOSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
OAKLAND 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 x 2 8 1 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: BOS - DAISUKE MATSUZAKA, JAVIER LOPEZ (8TH) AND JASON VARITEK
OAK - LENNY DINARDO, KIKO CALERO (7TH), JAY MARSHALL
(8TH), COLBY LEWIS (8TH), ALAN EMBREE (9TH) AND J
Jun 6 1:00 AM
AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
DOUBLE BY NICK SWISHER SCORED JASON KENDALL.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, N SWISHER ON SECOND, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 0
OAKLAND 2 BOTTOM, 5TH
DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: D JOHNSON (.289, 0-FOR-2)
Red Sox vs. AthleticsJun 5 11:37 PM
AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY ERIC CHAVEZ (9) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 0 OUT
IN THE 4TH OFF DAISUKE MATSUZAKA.
CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 0, OAKLAND 1
DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: B CROSBY (.246, 0-FOR-1)
Red Sox vs. AthleticsJun 5 11:10 PM
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