for this game

Athletics pound Wakefield, Red Sox

May 24, 2008 - 6:19 AM By Al Barba PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) - Frank Thomas continues to find the pitching of the Boston Red Sox to his liking.

Thomas, who entered Friday night's series opener with a .315 career batting average against Boston, had three hits - including a two-run home run - as the Oakland Athletics defeated the Red Sox, 8-3, at McAfee Coliseum.

The first-inning, two-run blast off knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was the 520th of Thomas' career, moving him within one of tying Willie McCovey and Ted Williams for 16th place on the all-time list. His two RBI gave him 1,701 for his career, one behind Reggie Jackson for 20th in major league history.

Despite his success against the Red Sox - and Wakefield in particular - Thomas isn't ready to claim he has the veteran knuckleball pitcher mastered.

"He's probably gotten me more than I've got him," said Thomas, who now has seven career home runs off Wakefield. "I think him pitching in the cold air and windy conditions, it's hard for him to get as good of movement.

"I've seen him on many, many nights when the air is really thin - you get some really bad swings. That's why he's effective. Tonight just wasn't his night. I think with the conditions tonight the ball was just a little straighter."

Thomas' success isn't lost on Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

"He's had some production against us. That's putting it lightly," Francona said.

Thomas' home run and a third-inning, three-run shot by Mark Ellis provided plenty of support for Oakland starter Rich Harden (3-0).

The oft-injured righthander turned in his second straight impressive outing as he allowed two runs, four hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in six innings.

"My fastball was working pretty really well tonight. I used it a lot early. Once I started getting a little wild, they weren't swing at it as much," Harden said. "I was happy with the way I felt.

"When the guys get you some runs early, you want to go right back out the next inning and put up a zero."

Harden was facing the Red Sox for the third time this season and is 2-0 with 23 strikeouts in 17 innings.

"He has as good of stuff as anybody in the American League," Francona said. "He gets in fastball counts and he doesn't give you a fastball. We've seen him too much. We don't need to see him every other game. I hope he's not going to come back and pitch Sunday."

Meanwhile, Wakefield (3-3) lost for the second time in three starts after surrendering eight hits, a season-high eight runs and eight hits in five frames. The veteran walked four and struck out four.

"I actually felt good in the bullpen and in the first inning," Wakefield said. "One pitch to Thomas. You know the history there. The one I didn't expect was Ellis. I thought I threw a good pitch to Ellis. He hit the three-run homer and it kind of put us in the hole.

"I think my mechanics are off a little right now. It was a grind after the first inning. I wasn't as consistent as I would like to be. If I can take anything positive from this is I made it to the sixth inning."

Despite Wakefield's struggles, Francona was pleased with his starter's effort.

"The one thing Wake did for us tonight, he stayed out there and we didn't mess our bullpen up," Francona said. "He stayed out there and it wasn't always easy. He even put up a couple of zeroes. We got beat, but we'll come back tomorrow."

Oakland jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Jack Cust and Thomas' blast.

The Athletics scored four more times in the third, as Ellis provided the big blow with a three-run shot to left field off Wakefield for a 7-0 cushion.

The night marked the return of Ellis, who had missed the last nine games after straining a hamstring at Texas on May 11.

"After my first at-bat I felt good. After I got my first ground ball I felt good," Ellis said. "It's nice to get back into the rhythm and to look around and just be out there. For me, it's always about playing good defense. Obviously the big home run felt good. It definitely helped our team out tonight."

Harden retired the first 10 batters he faced before Dustin Pedroia hit a 2-1 pitch over the left-center field wall for a home run. The blast extended Pedroia's hitting streak to a career-high 15 games.

Jacoby Ellsbury's two-out RBI single through the left side in the fifth inning got the Red Sox within 7-2. It also extended his hitting streak to 10 games, tops among American League rookies.






  • 28
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Red Sox 3, Athletics 8  FinalMay 24 1:09 AM


  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BOSTON 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 3 6 0
    OAKLAND 3 0 4 0 0 1 0 0 x 8 8 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: BOS - TIM WAKEFIELD, DAVID AARDSMA (6TH), MIKE TIMLIN (7TH) AND
    KEVIN CASH
    OAK - RICH HARDEN, JOEY DEVINE (7TH), HUSTON STREET
    (9TH) AND KURT SUZUKI

    HOME RUNS: B

    May 24 12:35 AM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JACOBY ELLSBURY SCORED JULIO LUGO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J ELLSBURY ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 3
    OAKLAND 8 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D PEDROIA (.302, 1-FOR-3, HR, RBI)

    Red Sox 3, Athletics 8  Top 7, 0 OutsMay 24 12:04 AM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY BOBBY CROSBY SCORED DARIC BARTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K SUZUKI ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 2
    OAKLAND 8 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: J CUST (.260, 1-FOR-1, 2 BB, RBI)

    Red Sox 2, Athletics 8  Bot 6, 0 OutsMay 23 11:55 PM
  • 23
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 23 roots

    Red Sox 2, Athletics 7  Bot 5, 0 OutsMay 23 11:20 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JACOBY ELLSBURY SCORED J.D. DREW.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J ELLSBURY ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 2
    OAKLAND 7 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D PEDROIA (.303, 1-FOR-2, HR, RBI)

    Red Sox 2, Athletics 7  Top 5, 0 OutsMay 23 11:19 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DUSTIN PEDROIA (3) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 4TH OFF RICH HARDEN.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 1, OAKLAND 7
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D ORTIZ (.246, 0-FOR-1)

    Red Sox 1, Athletics 7  Top 4, 0 OutsMay 23 10:57 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY MARK ELLIS (4) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF TIM WAKEFIELD SCORED FRANK THOMAS AND RYAN SWEENEY.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 0, OAKLAND 7
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: D BARTON (.215, 0-FOR-1)

    Red Sox 0, Athletics 7  Bot 3, 0 OutsMay 23 10:50 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN SWEENEY SCORED JACK CUST.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R SWEENEY ON FIRST, F THOMAS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 0
    OAKLAND 4 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: E BROWN (.258, 0-FOR-1)

    Red Sox 0, Athletics 4  Bot 3, 0 OutsMay 23 10:49 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY FRANK THOMAS (7) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 1ST OFF TIM WAKEFIELD SCORED JACK CUST.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 0, OAKLAND 3
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: R SWEENEY (.295, 1 HR, 20 RBI)

    Red Sox 0, Athletics 3  Bot 1, 0 OutsMay 23 10:18 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JACK CUST SCORED BOBBY CROSBY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J CUST ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 0
    OAKLAND 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: F THOMAS (.232, 6 HR, 25 RBI)

    Red Sox 0, Athletics 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsMay 23 10:17 PM