Boston at Oakland

W: R. Harden (1-0) L: J. Lester (0-1)
HR: BOS - M. Ramirez (1)   OAK - E. Brown (1)

Brown, Harden power A's to series split with BoSox in Japan wire reports

TOKYO -- Split two games, get back on a plane.

Rich Harden struck out nine over six innings and Emil Brown hit a three-run homer, leading the Oakland Athletics to a 5-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night in the finale of their season-opening series in Japan.

"Last night we lost a heartbreaker. We won tonight. Now everyone's looking forward to getting back to the Bay Area and recovering," Oakland manager Bob Geren said.

Boston began its World Series title defense by winning Tuesday's opener 6-5 in 10 innings after rallying in the ninth. The Red Sox headed to Los Angeles after Wednesday's game for three more exhibitions against the Dodgers, including one at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday.

"We'll take a step back tomorrow and have an optional workout," manager Terry Francona said. "We tried to do our homework on what to expect from travel. We're not going to talk ourselves into being tired, and we'll do what we need to do to get ready for the next start in Oakland."

After the New York Yankees went to Japan to start the 2004 season against Tampa Bay, several players said they had trouble adjusting when they got home.

The Red Sox and A's resume their regular seasons with a two-game series starting Tuesday in Oakland.

No team has ever swept a season-opening series in Japan. The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets split their two-game Japanese series in 2000, as did the Yankees and Tampa Bay in 2004.

Since the teams arrived last week, the focus was on the Red Sox, coming off their second title in four seasons, and Oakland was almost an afterthought.

Indeed, late in the game, an Oakland flag above the scoreboard in center fell and landed on the warning track between innings. A groundskeeper went out and retrieved it.

With Japanese stars Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, the Red Sox were clearly the fan favorites.

"We were received so warmly," Francona said. "Having Daisuke and Hideki added to that and hopefully we gained some fans."

Harden (1-0) helped the A's gain something from the trip. He is coming back from three injury-plagued seasons, and he made just four starts last year -- none after July 7. This time, the right-hander allowed three hits and three walks, throwing 95 pitches.

"I had some bad luck the past couple of years," Harden said. "But hopefully, I can put that behind me and do what I need to do to help the ballclub this season."

Harden said he tried to stay focused for Wednesday's game and not let the unique surroundings at Tokyo Dome affect him.

"You want to be consistent with how you approach your starts," he said. "It did feel a bit different out there, almost like a playoff game, but you just try to treat it like any other game."

Oakland built a 4-0 lead against Jon Lester (0-1) while Harden shut down the Red Sox. He allowed his only run in the sixth on a homer by Manny Ramirez, who struck out in his first two at-bats.

David Ortiz was 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a walk against Harden. Coming in, Ortiz was 4-for-5 against Harden, and Ramirez was 2-for-3, each homering twice.

"Rich showed tonight against the world champions how good he is and how much we need him," Geren said. "His entire spring training went well with no health issues. We're hoping to get 30-plus more starts like that."

Oakland went ahead in the second inning of this one when Bobby Crosby doubled and scored on Chris Denorfia's single. Brown made it 4-0 with a three-run homer in the third.

"It's a great opportunity for me," said Brown, who made up for a costly base-running mistake in Tuesday's loss. "We didn't play too bad last night, I made a mistake and it cost us. I was glad I could help the team today, so that we can head home with a win."

Oakland added a run in the eighth off Bryan Corey on Jeff Fiorentino's RBI single after a double by Kurt Suzuki, a native of Hawaii with Japanese grandparents.

Ramirez struck out three times after hitting a pair of two-run doubles Tuesday. He stood at the plate admiring his 10th-inning drive in the opener, thinking it was a three-run homer, and had to hustle to reach second.

He could afford to stand and watch his shot Wednesday, a sure home run deep into the left-field seats that moved him within nine of joining the 500-homer club.

Santiago Casilla, Keith Foulke and Alan Embree followed Harden with one scoreless inning apiece, completing a five-hitter. Oakland rebounded from its fourth straight opening-day loss. Foulke threw a called third strike past Ramirez to end the eighth with a runner on second.

Lester gave up four runs, five hits and three walks in four innings.

"Emil got one pitch just a little bit over the plate and he hit it over the wall," Lester said.


  • The crowd was much more subdued than it was during the opener, when Matsuzaka pitched in his homeland for the first time since signing a $52 million, six-year contract with Boston before last season.
  • Boston OF Brandon Moss was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after the game. He went 2-for-8 with two RBI in the series.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Emil Brown makes up for his Tuesday blunder with a three-run blast off Jon Lester.  (AP)
Emil Brown makes up for his Tuesday blunder with a three-run blast off Jon Lester. (AP)

Players of the Game

R. Harden
IP 6.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 3
K 9

M. Ramirez
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

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Dustin Pedroia, 2B4000012 .250
Kevin Youkilis, 1B3000100 .143
David Ortiz, DH3000113 .000
Manny Ramirez, LF4111032 .333
Mike Lowell, 3B4020000 .375
Brandon Moss, RF3000031 .250
   a- Sean Casey, PH1000001 .000
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a-grounded into a double play for Moss in the 9th
2B - Coco Crisp (1, Casilla)
HR - Manny Ramirez (1, Harden)
RBI - Manny Ramirez (5)
2-OUT RBI - Manny Ramirez (3)
SB - Julio Lugo (1, 2nd base off Harden/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 6
Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester (L,0-1) 4544341 9.00
David Aardsma 1.2100030 0.00
Javier Lopez 0.1000100 0.00
Manny Delcarmen 1100000 0.00
Bryan Corey 1211000 4.50
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 83-47, David Aardsma 20-14, Javier Lopez 10-4, Manny Delcarmen 18-11, Bryan Corey 14-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 3-5, David Aardsma 2-0, Manny Delcarmen 2-1, Bryan Corey 1-2
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 20, David Aardsma 6, Javier Lopez 2, Manny Delcarmen 4, Bryan Corey 5
Oakland Athletics
Travis Buck, RF5000015 .000
Mark Ellis, 2B3100110 .143
Daric Barton, 1B3000111 .000
Mike Sweeney, DH4120001 .500
Emil Brown, LF4113001 .250
Bobby Crosby, SS4110010 .333
Jack Hannahan, 3B4010021 .375
Kurt Suzuki, C3120101 .375
Chris Denorfia, CF2011010 .500
   a- Jack Cust, PH0000100 .000
    Jeff Fiorentino, PR-CF10110001.000
a-walked for Denorfia in the 6th
2B - Bobby Crosby (1, Lester), Kurt Suzuki 2 (2, Aardsma, Corey)
HR - Emil Brown (1, Lester)
RBI - Emil Brown 3 (4), Chris Denorfia (1), Jeff Fiorentino (1)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Denorfia (1), Jeff Fiorentino (1)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Crosby-Ellis-Barton, Ellis-Crosby-Barton
E - Bobby Crosby (1, Misplayed grounder)
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Rich Harden (W,1-0) 6311391 1.50
Santiago Casilla (H,1) 1100020 0.00
Keith Foulke (H,2) 1000010 0.00
Alan Embree 1100010 0.00
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Pitches-Strikes - Rich Harden 95-60, Santiago Casilla 17-12, Keith Foulke 15-10, Alan Embree 12-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Harden 2-6, Santiago Casilla 1-0, Keith Foulke 1-2, Alan Embree 1-0
Batters Faced - Rich Harden 23, Santiago Casilla 4, Keith Foulke 4, Alan Embree 3
Game Information
Attendance - 44735
Game Time - 2:51
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Tim Timmons, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Rick Reed