By MICHAEL WAGAMAN Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Nick Pivetta pitched two-hit ball over seven innings to win his fifth consecutive start and the Boston Red Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 8-0 on Saturday.
Alex Verdugo had three hits and two RBIs as Boston won its third straight. Trevor Story doubled twice and made a tremendous defensive play. Xander Bogaerts added an infield single and became the career leader in games started by a Red Sox shortstop.
Pivetta (5-4) was crisp with seven strikeouts and two walks. He allowed one runner past second base and pitched out of that jam by getting Seth Brown to line out and Chad Pinder to fly out.
Since losing at Baltimore on May 1, Pivetta has given up six earned runs in 41 innings – an ERA of 1.32.
That’s in line with the rest of the Red Sox staff. Over the last four games, Boston starters have not allowed an earned run – a stretch of 24 2/3 innings.
Tanner Houck and Hirokazu Sawamura retired three batters each to complete the four-hitter.
Elvis Andrus and Ramón Laureano each doubled for the A’s. Oakland has lost five straight.
The Red Sox led 3-0 on Rafael Devers’ two-run single off Paul Blackburn in the third.
After Verdugo doubled in Bogaerts in the fourth, Franchy Cordero had a two-run single as part of Boston’s four-run eighth.
Blackburn (5-2) lost his second consecutive start and allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings, raising his ERA from 2.15 to 2.62.
Story made a high, leaping catch to take away a hit from Brown in the fourth. Three innings earlier, Boston third baseman Rafael Devers made a diving stop on a sharp grounder by A’s leadoff batter Tony Kemp.
In the eighth, third baseman Bobby Dalbec made a throwing error over the head of first baseman Cordero. Cordero chased the ball down and threw to catcher Christian Vazquez, whose relay to shortstop Christian Arroyo covering third caught Tony Kemp trying to scramble back to the bag for a 3-2-6 putout.
A’S HONOR ’72 CHAMPS
Members of the A’s 1972 World Series championship team were honored during a pre-game ceremony. Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers and World Series MVP Gene Tennace were among those in attendance.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale threw a 25-pitch bullpen and is likely to face hitters next week. … An MRI revealed some fluid build-up in the right shoulder of Matt Barnes but “nothing out of the ordinary,” according to manager Alex Cora.
Athletics RHP Frankie Montas (2-5, 3.20 ERA) is winless over his previous eight starts despite holding opponents to a .211 average during that stretch. Red Sox LHP Rich Hill (1-3, 4.85) has allowed 12 earned runs over his past 11 innings.