Andrew Benintendi

Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Red Sox 6, A's 2: Offense continues to sputter, but Red Sox cruising to division title

John Tomase
September 14, 2017 - 4:57 pm

The Red Sox offense isn't exactly cruising into the postseason.

One day after getting shut down by anonymous A's right-hander Jharel Cotton, the Red Sox needed six innings to figure out his teammate, right-hander Daniel Gossett.

They didn't pile on until they reached the A's bullpen, but with Drew Pomeranz limiting Oakland to one run over six innings, they managed to score enough to claim a 6-2 victory that put the finishing touches on a 6-3 homestand before they embark on their final road trip of the season, which opens on Friday in Tampa.

The Red Sox have had a Jekyll and Hyde season offensively, as encapsulated by the last week. After being held to three runs or fewer in eight of 12 games, the Red Sox put up six, nine, nine, and 11 in a four-game stretch. But they followed Wednesday's 7-3 loss with another low-scoring affair, though this time at least in a victory.

The ability to win without tearing the cover off the ball could bode well in the playoffs, believe it or not. The Red Sox have played well against some upper-echelon pitchers this season because they're capable of scratching out runs via hits, walks, and aggressive baserunning.

They rank last in the American League in home runs, but sixth in runs scored. Home runs often dry up in the playoffs because the pitching is consistently strong. Take last year's American League Championship Series. The Blue Jays ranked third in the AL with 221 home runs, but were eliminated in five games by the Indians after hitting only two homers and scoring just eight runs.

Outfielder Andrew Benintendi was the offensive star on Thursday, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Catcher Christian Vazquez added a home run. Pomeranz, meanwhile, improved to 16-5 and lowered his ERA to 3.28 by allowing one run over six innings.

"There were so many quality things here today," said manager John Farrell. "Benny with a big day, three big swings, couple of doubles, none bigger than the two-run base hit in that seventh inning to spread things open a little bit more. Vazquy jumpstarts on us on a day when we were a little sluggish in the first four innings or so. But he kind of wakes us up with a solo home run to tie it. But on this homestand for the better part of a month and a half, Benny has been in a great spot with all-field approach, extra-base power. He's come up with some key base hits at opportune times."

With the victory, the Red Sox increased their lead in the American League East to 3 1/2 games, pending New York's game Thursday night against the Orioles.