Hapless Athletics commit five errors in Red Sox 9-0 win

Last season the Red Sox were not a good defensive team, and over the course of the season the club cost itself numerous games thanks to ill-timed miscues.

But bad as it often seemed, we never saw anything like the pathetic display put on by the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.

The hapless Athletics committed five errors within the first three innings to effectively hand the game to Boston on a silver platter. The Red Sox took full advantage, running out to a big early lead and cruising to a decisive 9-0 win in the series opener.

Whether it was sailing a throw on a stolen base attempt, botching a pickoff or a routine throw to the first base bag, airmailing a throw home or just flat out letting an easy fly ball fall in, the Athletics couldn’t get out of their own way. Starting pitcher Joe Boyle didn’t help his own case, issuing four walks with a wild pitch, and the Red Sox broke the dam in the top of the third, scoring five runs aided by two Oakland errors.

All told, the Athletics have committed 13 errors through their first five games, by far the most in MLB.

Jarren Duran set the tone early en route to one of the best games of his career, recording a hit and a stolen base in each of the game’s first three innings. He finished 3-5 with three steals, an RBI, and he also scored on Triston Casas’ RBI single to break the ice in the top of the first.

Though Duran forced Oakland’s first error with his initial stolen base attempt, nobody benefitted more from the Athletics’ ineptitude than Enmanuel Valdez. The 25-year-old second baseman reached on errors in consecutive at bats, first on a deep fly ball that center fielder JJ Bleday inexplicably failed to catch in the second, and then on an infield grounder that first baseman Ryan Noda threw away in the third, allowing a run to score.

Both of those errors were immediately followed by Ceddanne Rafaela sacrifice flies, one of which also led to another error allowing a second run to score. While the Red Sox failed to capitalize on a subsequent bases-loaded, one-out situation in the second inning, they had no such trouble in the third. Following the Valdez infield play and Rafaela’s second sac fly, Duran came through with an RBI single and then Trevor Story delivered the dagger with a two-run double to make it 8-0.

Masataka Yoshida added an RBI fielder’s choice in the sixth to round out the offense, and in addition to Duran’s big day, Casas also finished 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI.

While the Red Sox lineup gave the Athletics’ defense fits, Tanner Houck continued the starting rotation’s early dominance. The 27-year-old tied his career-high with 10 strikeouts while holding the Athletics scoreless over six innings. He drew 16 whiffs in the process while allowing only three hits with no walks.

Through the first turn of the rotation Boston’s starters have now collectively posted 37 strikeouts against only one walk. They’ve allowed four earned runs over 28 innings, good for a 1.29 ERA.

Chase Anderson came out of the bullpen and wound up finishing the game for Boston, throwing three shutout innings to record a save in his Red Sox debut. With the win Boston improves to 3-2 on the season and will look to clinch the series with another win Tuesday night when Brayan Bello takes the mound against Oakland’s Alex Wood.

First pitch is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. ET.

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