BOSTON -- On a night of novelty in which they became the first team since 1995 to face a pitcher who threw with both hands, the Red Sox on Friday made a nice recovery from one of their ugliest losses of the season, beating the Oakland Athletics 4-2 before 34,910 in Fenway Park.
Wade Miley, the Red Sox pitcher who employs just his left hand, gave the Sox 7 1/3 strong innings, backed by exceptional defense in his infield, a refreshing contrast from Thursday night, when faulty fielding cost the Sox dearly in an 8-4 loss to Minnesota.
Miley allowed just six hits and a walk while striking out six, and profited from two double plays turned by infielders Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts, who have clearly reached a new level of comfort in their exchanges. Ten of the first 13 outs Miley recorded came on ground balls, 12 in all.
The Sox, meanwhile, benefitted from three errors in the first four innings by the Athletics, which enabled Boston to make short work of left-handed starter Scott Kazmir, who was lifted with two out in the fifth after a yield of nine hits and a walk.
Pedroia had hits in each of his first three at-bats and scored twice. Brock Holt, playing third base in Pablo Sandoval’s place, doubled and singled and drove in two runs, while Mookie Betts’ bunt single led to a run, as third baseman Brett Lawrie threw wildly to first, allowing Bogaerts, who had doubled, to score.
Both Sides Now: That’s the song Fenway Park organist Josh Kantor played to greet the major-league debut of 29-year-old Pat Venditte, the Oakland pitcher who became the first ambidextrous pitcher to appear in a big-league game since Montreal’s Greg Harris in 1995.
Venditte entered the game in the seventh inning and pitched left-handed to the first batter he faced, Holt, who grounded out to first. Venditte then reversed hands with his glove and pitched right-handed to Hanley Ramirez, who singled, and Mike Napoli, who grounded into a double play.
In the eighth, Venditte went all right-handed against Bogaerts (ground ball), Betts (fly ball) and switch-hitting Blake Swihart (strikeout). He had to declare which hand he intended to use against Swihart,
Sigh of relief: Closer Koji Uehara put the tying runs on base in the ninth on an infield hit by Lawrie and a two-out double by Josh Phegley. But newly acquired Alejandro de Aza, playing left field in place of the defensively challenged Ramirez, ran down Mark Canha’s liner to end it.