Justin Masterson retired just seven outs in his start Tuesday night. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Closing Time: Justin Masterson, Red Sox hitters fall on tough times in loss to A's

Rob Bradford
May 12, 2015 - 8:40 pm

OAKLAND -- The good times for the Red Sox came to a screeching halt Tuesday night. After winning two straight, the Sox fell upon hard (and familiar) times, dropping an 9-2 decision to the A's at O.com Coliseum. Unfortunately for John Farrell's team, the defeat was born from a familiar equation: terrible work from its starter and the inability to hit lefty pitching. The most noticeable issue for the Red Sox was the struggles of starting pitcher Justin Masterson, who allowed six runs over just 2 1/3 innings. He was replaced by Steven Wright, who also gave up a pair of hits before finishing off the third inning with the Red Sox in a 7-0 hole after three frames. The outing pushed Masterson'€™s ERA to 6.37, having given up 10 runs on 13 hits with seven walks over 6 2/3 innings in his last two starts. It marked the seventh time a Red Sox starter has gone fewer than five innings. The other issue continuing to face the Red Sox is their trouble handling lefty pitchers, in this case Oakland starter Drew Pomeranz. The Sox came into the game hitting just .190 against lefties, a number that didn't get any better in the second game of the three-game series. The only hits against Pomeranz came from Dustin Pedroia (2), Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino. The Oakland starter finished his night allowing two runs on four hits while striking out three and not walking a batter over seven innings. Of those on the Red Sox' active roster, only one [Hanley Ramirez] has a batting average of better than .225 against southpaws. After facing Oakland ace Sonny Gray Thursday, the Sox are slated to go up against three lefty starters in their four-game set in Seattle over the weekend. SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Former Red Sox outfielder Josh Reddick managed four hits, including a home run, to boost his average to .346. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- While Masterson was done in by six walks in his last outing, this time around the righty simply was hit around. He allowed his third and fourth homers of the season to Stephen Vogt and Reddick, respectively. -- Wright didn't distinguish himself after coming on for Masterson, allowing a walk and two singles to his first four batters, making it 8-0 after three innings. The knuckleballer would also surrender a solo shot to Marcus Semien. He did end up with a decent outing, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings. -- The Red Sox reclaimed the major league lead for most first-inning runs allowed, giving up four to up their total to 34. This time the runs were scored by a team, the A's, who hadn't notched a run in the first in its last seven games. -- Pablo Sandoval continued his horrific struggles against lefty pitching (2-for-34), failing to get on base against Pomeranz. WHAT WENT RIGHT -- Shane Victorino managed his first hit since April 21, pulling a double in the left field corner in the sixth inning. -- Wright did settle down to help save the Red Sox bullpen.