The Red Sox swept the Athletics with a 6-3 win Sunday in Fenway Park.
With Boston sending John Lackey to the mound for the first time since he went on the disabled list back in early May, their chances against noted Sox-killer Brett Anderson seemed slim at best. Somehow, though, the Red Sox were able to figure out Anderson, while Lackey held the A's to weak contact and just three hits, keeping them in check well enough to give the Sox a chance to close the deal.
With John Lackey getting double plays to avoid damage in the first two innings despite allowing three baserunners, the Red Sox set about giving him some support in the bottom half of the second. David Ortiz singled off of Anderson to start off the inning (the first of three hits on the day for a David Ortiz who is fast resembling his old dominant self again) and then moved onto second base when Jed Lowrie followed in kind.
It wouldn't matter which base he was on, though, thanks to Carl Crawford taking a big swing at the first pitch he saw from Anderson--a middle-middle slider--and depositing it cleanly into the Red Sox bullpen to give the Sox the early 3-0 lead.
The lead did not remain at three for long. Kevin Kouzmanoff answered Crawford's homer with one of his own to straightaway center field on the second pitch of the third inning, and the A's struck again in the fourth when Kurt Suzuki was hit by a pitch, stole second, and then came around to score on Daric Barton's two-out single.
Just as the A's had fought back to within one, however, the Red Sox built it right back up when Adrian Gonzalez homered for the second straight game, bringing Jarrod Satlalamacchia around to score as well.
The teams would trade runs in the sixth, with Matt Albers allowing an inherited runner of John Lackey's to score, leaving the starter with three earned runs in 5.2 innings. While Lackey did give up two walks and hit three batters in his return, it's a solid day's work all-the-same.
After Saturday's extra-inning game left much of the bullpen exhausted, Terry Francona was forced to turn to some of the less consistent relievers, but found results all the same. Matt Albers and Tommy Hottovy combined for a scoreless seventh (Hottovy, of course, once again retiring David DeJesus to end the inning), Dan Wheeler needed only seven pitches to finish the eighth, and then Daniel Bard needed just one more to finish the game, striking out one man in the process. It was an impressive performance from what should have been one of the weaker aspects of the team on Sunday, and an encouraging way to close out the sweep.