OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Pitcher Aaron Brooks reminded himself to hustle and back up home, even though he had zero doubt strong-armed center fielder Ramon Laureano would throw out the runner at the plate.
Brooks didn’t have to do a thing. And a run got saved, at an early stage of the game when momentum means so much.
Khris Davis hit his fifth home run over Oakland’s first seven games, Laureano connected and also saved the run with a perfect throw, and the Athletics scored their first five runs on homers to beat the struggling Boston Red Sox 7-0 on Monday night.
“Those ones are kind of like in the moment so adrenaline gets you going,” Laureano said. “It’s the same thing we practice every day.”
Davis led the majors with 48 homers last season, and he went deep again leading off the second against David Price (0-1), who then struck out three straight before giving up Laureano’s leadoff drive the next inning.
“Sometimes I stay up at night trying to think of more superlatives to say about Khris Davis because I know I’m probably going to have to when I come in here after the game,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But I’m kind of all out of them. Go ask him, go ask his teammates. It’s amazing. He just keeps getting better and better.”
Chad Pinder added a two-run homer in the sixth for the A’s to back Brooks (1-0) in his first start since 2015.
The right-hander tossed six scoreless innings with six strikeouts and a walk to continue a stretch of stellar outings by A’s starters. They have given up just one run over 30 innings the past five games since the team returned from an 0-2 trip to Tokyo, all allowing three hits or fewer. There has been a pair of shutouts, too.
The ERA during this span? 0.30.
“Obviously when the first four go that well you kind of have to keep the roll going, or at least try,” Brooks said.
Pinder’s first home run of the year was the 11th surrendered by Red Sox starters in 20 innings to begin 2019. Matt Chapman homered leading off the eighth before pinch-hitter Kendrys Morales‘ RBI single.
Xander Bogaerts went 2 for 3 with a double after Boston’s shortstop signed a $120 million, six-year contract covering 2020-25, a deal that raises his guarantee to $132 million over seven seasons.
He doubled and went home on Mitch Moreland’s single, but Bogaerts was out at the plate on a 96 mph throw home by Laureano. The call stood after going to replay review, although it appeared Bogaerts’ foot beat the tag by catcher Nick Hundley.
“It seems like we were putting something together and Laureano changed the game with that throw,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.
The tarp was on the infield more than three hours before first pitch because of rain, and neither team took batting practice on the field. There was a short drizzle before Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 900th career appearance. It tied him for 25th all-time with Arthur Rhodes.
Price struck out nine with two walks over six innings, tagged for four runs and five hits — with the three homers. It was the left-hander’s 300th major league appearance, 290th start.
It has been a slow start for the defending champion Red Sox, who lost three of four at Seattle to open the year and begin 2019 with an 11-game road trip. It is the most road games to begin a season in franchise history.
“There’s no panic in this clubhouse or the dugout. Just nothing good is happening right now,” Price said. “We’d rather it happen right now than the last two weeks of September or whatever. We’ll get through this time and we’ll be better for it.”
Boston has struggled at the Oakland Coliseum, 15-36 in the last 51 games while going 3-12-1 in their previous 16 series here.
A pregame tribute and applause, instead of a moment of silence, was held in honor of late Boston Globe baseball writer Nick Cafardo, who died at age 62 in February while at spring training in Florida. A bouquet of flowers sat on the table at his press box seat.
On Tuesday night, the reigning World Series champs will play next-door at the same time the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors host the Denver Nuggets at Oracle Arena.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia, on the injured list with left knee inflammation, was scheduled to play nine innings in his second extended spring training game Tuesday before beginning a rehab assignment with Class A Greenville on Thursday.
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt will start for Class A Stockton on Thursday as he works back from the injured list for a bruised right lower leg.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (0-1, 21.00 ERA), tagged for seven runs in three innings pitching opening day at Seattle, makes his second 2019 start.
Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers (1-1, 5.00) looks to build off six scoreless innings in the home opener Thursday against the Angels.