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Houck strikes out 10, Red Sox capitalize on 5 errors to beat Athletics

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Tanner Houck struck out 10 batters in six scoreless innings and the Boston Red Sox capitalized on five early errors by Oakland to beat the Athletics 9-0 on Monday night in front of an announced crowd of 6,618 fans.

"He was excellent," manager Alex Cora said. "Mixed up his pitches. Repeated his delivery. He was the aggressor the whole night. He was ahead in the count and induced weak contact and got swings and misses."

Jarren Duran had three hits and three steals in the first three innings, Trevor Story added a two-run double and Ceddanne Rafaela hit two sacrifice flies to help Boston score eight runs in the first three innings against the mistake-prone A’s.

Houck (1-0) did the rest with the latest strong start for Boston, allowing three hits and no walks. Through one turn through the rotation, all five starters for the Red Sox have gone at least five innings and allowed two runs or fewer. The quintet has allowed four runs overall in 28 innings, while striking out 37 and walking only one batter.

"It's only five games. We got to keep doing it," Cora said. "But it feels good. It's felt good in spring training and it felt good in the offseason. They’re not satisfied. They want to keep going."

Chase Anderson finished the four-hitter for his first save.

Joe Boyle (0-1) allowed eight runs — seven earned — and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings in his first start of the season to take the loss for Oakland.

But he got no help from his teammates with the five early errors.

"We couldn’t get out of our way the first three innings," manager Mark Kotsay said.

Catcher Shea Langeliers threw a ball away on a steal attempt, center fielder JJ Bleday dropped a drive to the warning track for a two-base error, right fielder Lawrence Butler threw the ball away on a sacrifice fly to allow a second run to score, first baseman Ryan Noda threw one away on an infield hit and even Boyle made a wild throw on a pickoff attempt at second base.

“We’re going to push the envelope as a group,” Cora said. “Yeah, they struggled defensively, but we put pressure on them, too.”

Oakland also became the first team in seven years to commit at least five errors in the first three innings of a game with Seattle the last to do it on Aug, 27, 2017, against the New York Yankees.

The A’s have made at least one error in every game with the 13 the most in the first five games of a season since the Chicago White Sox had 18 in 1995. It’s also the most errors in the first five games of a season for the franchise since the Philadelphia had 16 in 1923.

“I wish I had an answer for the defense right now,” Kotsay said. “They’re going to have to get better. That’s just all there is to it. These first five games, if you told me we were going to play as bad defensively as this, I would have said you’re dead wrong. We’ll see how they respond tomorrow.”


Athletics: Oakland optioned OF Esteury Ruiz to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear a roster spot for INF Tyler Nevin, who was claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles Sunday.


Brayan Bello (1-0) looks to follow up his win in the opener for Boston in the second game of the series. Alex Wood looks to bounce back from a tough opener for Oakland when he allowed six runs in 3 1-3 innings in a loss to Cleveland.