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Oakland A’s outfielder celebrates 24th birthday with crucial hit


BOSTON — Lawrence Butler hit a two-run double to back a solid outing from JP Sears as the Oakland Athletics beat the Boston Red Sox 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Butler had been scuffling of late but on his 24th birthday, went 2-for-3 to help Oakland earn its first win over the Red Sox this season after four straight losses.

Since he was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on June 18, marking his second stint with the A’s this year, Butler was 12-for-52 (.231) with three home runs and eight RBI in
18 games before Wednesday. All three of the home runs had come over his previous seven games.

“It builds confidence for sure,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay told reporters Wednesday when asked about Butler. “I was thinking about it during the game. Those two balls he hit today, if you go back two weeks ago, three weeks ago, he was taking those for strikes. He wasn’t being aggressive, wasn’t trying to use that side of the field, and those two balls he hit tonight were missiles.”

Kotsay said Butler’s double into the corner “was a huge at-bat and a huge momentum swing in the game.

“You love to see the results happen this fast but that also takes an open mind and willingness to make some adjustments and for a young player, that’s hard.”

Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta (4-6) lost despite striking out eight consecutive batters, tying a Red Sox record for the second time. He also fanned eight straight Detroit Tigers on May 30. The only other Red Sox pitcher to accomplish the feat was Roger Clemens, who whiffed a record 20 hitters against Seattle on April 29, 1986.

Pivetta went 6 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out 10, reaching double digits for the 15th time in his career and third this season.

“It was a weird game, right? We scored those runs, and then I think we had eight consecutive strikeouts,” Kotsay said. “(Pivetta’s) having a pretty decent year. He has that ability to strike guys out with the breaking ball, and he utilized it very well.”

Sears (6-7) pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. Mason Miller, Oakland’s rookie All-Star, got his 15th save with two strikeouts in a scoreless ninth.

Oakland scored three runs in the third. Max Schuemann and Miguel Andujar singled before Brent Rooker and Shea Langeliers drew consecutive two-out walks, forcing in a run. Butler’s double made it 3-0.

The A’s added a run in the seventh when JJ Bleday’s two-out double scored Schuemann. They got another run in the eighth against right-hander Josh Winckowski as Rooker led off with a ground-rule double followed by a single from Langeliers and a walk to Butler, setting up Tyler Nevin’s sacrifice fly.

Rob Refsnyder hit a leadoff homer for Boston in the sixth. Tyler O’Neill had an RBI infield single in the seventh before All-Star slugger Rafael Devers grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

IMPENDING RETURNS?

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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