BOSTON (AP) — Drew Pomeranz knew it was likely the last batter he’d face. He figured he had to make one of his best pitches.
Pomeranz threw six innings of one-run ball, finishing by striking out Matt Olson with the bases loaded, and Andrew Benintendi had three hits and drove in three runs to lead the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox past the Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Thursday.
With two outs, a full count and the game tied at 1, Pomeranz got Olson swinging on a high, 92 mph fastball.
“In that big situation, making a big pitch is a huge deal when you can wiggle your way out of a jam” Pomeranz said. “He wasn’t chasing the curveball. I got 3-2 on him and I gave all that I have left to make one good pitch and he swung. Luckily, he missed it and that’s what I wanted.”
The added reward was that his teammates took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the inning, setting him up for the win.
“Another quality start on his part,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was a number of big moments in this game and for Drew himself, probably the last pitch he threw today, the strikeout to Olson, that was going to be his last pitch of the day.”
Pomeranz (16-5) allowed five hits, walking three and striking out five to raise his record to 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last six starts in Fenway Park. He also tied teammate Chris Sale and two others for the AL lead in victories.
Christian Vazquez hit a solo homer and Mitch Moreland added an RBI double for the Red Sox, who have won six of eight. Boston began the day with a three-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees.
Ryon Healy hit a solo homer for the A’s, who fell for just the second time in eight games. The loss assured Oakland (64-82) of a losing record for the third straight season.
“We had some opportunities, and we had a couple base running mistakes early in the game that cost us,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Benintendi doubled high off the Green Monster, chasing Daniel Gossett (4-9) and scoring Dustin Pedroia to make it 2-1 in the sixth.
Trailing 1-0, Boston tied it when Vazquez’s drive completely left Fenway over the Monster seats leading off the fifth.
The A’s had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning on Josh Phegley’s sacrifice fly.
A’s: OF Khris Davis left the team to be with his girlfriend for the expected birth of their first child.
Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 27 games against Oakland. During the streak, which started July 14, 2013, he’s batting .421.
Gossett gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings in his first career Fenway start.
“It was awesome. Great environment, tons of people. Historic park,” he said. “I got to be a part of something special. Not everybody can say that they pitched at Fenway. I got to sign the (Green) Monster, do everything. So that was special.”
The A’s had two runners cut down on the bases – Chad Pinder in the third and Mark Canha in the fifth – both on cutoff plays on balls hit to the outfield.
A’s: RHP Daniel Mengden (0-1, 7.07 ERA) is set to make his first career start against Philadelphia on Friday when the A’s face RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (3-5, 4.84) and the Phillies.
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