Xander Bogaerts' two-RBI double in the eighth inning might have been the biggest in the Red Sox' seven-run inning and 7-4 win. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Closing Time: Red Sox rally for 7 runs in eighth inning to stun Athletics, 7-4

Ryan Hannable
June 07, 2015 - 12:46 pm
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Could this be the game that potentially turns the Red Sox' season around? Trailing 4-0 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Red Sox scored seven times to take the lead and take down the A's, 7-4 Sunday at Fenway Park. They swept the three-game series, their first three-game sweep since July 20, 2014 against the Royals. It was their first three-game win streak since the fourth game of the season. "I think the was the way in which we won this one probably has a chance or an opportunity to have as big an impact as the win itself," manager John Farrell said. "To put together the number of at-bats we did in that inning, and to score, you never anticipate scoring seven runs, but to see the number of guys that contributed inside that, it was a much needed win." Rusney Castillo led the bottom of the eighth off with a solo home run chasing starter Kendall Graveman from the game. It was his first extra-base hit of the season, which spanned 49 plate appearances. Oakland's bullpen came in and struggled, allowing three straight singles to the first three batters in the Red Sox' order, including an RBI single by Hanley Ramirez, before a sacrifice fly from David Ortiz cut the deficit to one, 4-3. Mike Napoli then struck out before Pablo Sandoval singled, setting up first and third with two outs and Xander Bogaerts lined a double off the Green Monster scoring two -- both the tying and game-winning run. The Red Sox would get two more runs on an RBI single from pinch-hitter Alejandra De Aza and another RBI single from Castillo. Tommy Layne earned his first major league save with a 1-2-3 ninth, as Koji Uehara was unavailable after throwing on three straight days. Graveman, who was demoted to Triple-A at the end of April for four starts, entered the game with a 3-2 record and a 5.56 ERA, but he shutdown the Red Sox, going seven-plus innings, allowing one run on six hits, while walking two and striking out six. "Well, Graveman was very good," Farrell said. "He had a good sinker, good late cutter, put a lot of balls on the ground. But in the eighth Rusney starts it off with the solo home run to jump start us, he caps it off with an RBI single an there was a lot in-between. We were able to get quality at-bats, couple of pinch-hit situations with De Aza to get a big RBI. Bogey [Bogaerts] with obviously the key base hit. The double off the wall with men at second and third and we put together a very good inning." It was not the best day for Clay Buchholz, as he went 4 2/3 innings allowing four runs on 10 hits, while walking two and striking out four on 102 pitches. The start ended a string of four straight starts of going at least seven innings and allowing two earned runs or less. It was his shortest start since going 2 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays on April 28. He allowed more runs in the second inning (two) than he allowed in his previous 20 1/3 innings (three). SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Castillo. He sparked the eighth inning rally with a leadoff homer and then added an RBI single later in the inning. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid. Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox' win: WHAT WENT RIGHT -- Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-5 with two singles to extend his hit streak to seven games. Over that span he is hitting .483 (14-for-29). -- Sandy Leon doubled in the second inning. It was his first extra-base hit of the season, snapping an 0-for-8 slide and was his first extra-base hit since April 22, 2014. -- Pitching out of the bullpen after being removed from the rotation in favor of Joe Kelly before the game, Steven Wright gave the Red Sox 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win. WHAT WENT WRONG -- Buchholz was due for a bad start, but was bailed out with the huge eighth inning. The rotation was 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA in their last six starts. -- Ortiz went 0-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly. He's now 1 for his last 14. -- Mike Napoli went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, including in the eighth inning in the midst of the Red Sox comeback.

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