Night to forget for Eveland, A's
Left-hander allows nine earned runs in shortest start of 2008
BOSTON -- Dana Eveland had a night he'd like to forget but one he will remember for the lesson he learned.
The first five batters the lefty faced all had hits, including two home runs, and the Red Sox routed the A's, 12-2, on Saturday night at Fenway Park.
Eveland (7-8) did not record an out in the third and was knocked out of the game after allowing eight hits and nine runs, all earned, while walking two and striking out two. It was his shortest outing of the season.
"They were obviously feeling pretty comfortable to take the swings they were taking," Eveland said. "I felt really, really good today. Even while they were hitting me around, I felt really good. It's the best I've thrown the baseball in a month and a half, and to have that outcome is pretty frustrating for me."
Things looked bright very early for the A's. The struggling lineup produced a leadoff single by Ryan Sweeney to open the game and a two-run homer from Emil Brown on a hanging breaking ball from Jon Lester for a 2-0 lead.
"We got a nice two-run homer in the first that got us up, and they struck back so quick with five straight hits," manager Bob Geren said. "[Eveland's] command in the strike zone just wasn't there. When he did throw strikes, they weren't in the right locations, and there's no doubt he struggled tonight."
Frank Thomas, who had two hits on the night, and Mark Ellis followed with singles, but Carlos Gonzalez hit into a 4-6-3 double play, and Oakland's biggest chance to take command of the game was over.
Eveland didn't get an out before the lead evaporated. Kevin Youkilis drilled a two-run homer to tie the game, and Jason Bay connected for his first homer since replacing the traded Manny Ramirez, a three-run blast over the Green Monster that put Boston ahead, 5-2.
That's when it occurred to Eveland that Red Sox hitters might have been a bit too comfortable in the batter's box.
"The only thing I could have done more is back them off the plate," he said. "I really felt once I started getting hit like that, I probably should have gotten under their chin a little bit and let them know it's my plate, and I didn't do that. So [if I] take home anything from this, [it's that] you've got to do that."
Jed Lowrie added a three-run double in the third to end Eveland's night.
"I went out there and threw what I felt were very good pitches, and I went back and looked at the tape, and they were pretty good pitches. They kept hitting them," Eveland said.
Lenny DiNardo was the brightest spot of the night for Oakland, as he threw 89 pitches in six innings, allowing three runs on six hits.
"[Eveland] did bounce back in the second and thought maybe he could salvage a start, and we're only down three, but he didn't have the command in the third," Geren said. "To the credit of Lenny, he came in and really saved the bullpen."
It was DiNardo's second career outing of at least six innings in relief, and his first since tossing 6 1/3 innings on July 7, 2007. He is the only Major League reliever with two such outings over the last two seasons.
"I've been in situations like that, and the main goal is to go out there and act like it's 0-0," DiNardo said. "You can't look at the scoreboard, or you're going to fail. Get one out at a time, and that's the mentality I took out there. It's part of the game. Sometimes you have to eat innings, and that's what I tried to do."
Lester (10-3) held Oakland to seven hits and two runs over seven innings to join Daisuke Matsuzaka as 10-game winners on Boston's staff.
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.