This time, he came to the plate to deliver a finishing move in the eighth inning, and he left no doubt about it. His three-run laser blast to left field off Luke Gregorson turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead, and the bullpen nailed down the save to kill the losing streak at four.
Gordon Beckham and Conor Gillaspie set the table for Abreu with a pair of one-out singles off Fernando Abad. Bob Melvin called for Gregorson to face Abreu. The A's spent the game working him high, but Gregorson took the low road with two fastballs. Abreu fouled the first one off, but the second left the yard at approximately 200 mph for the lead.
The Sox had squandered their other lead immediately, but Ronald Belisario and Matt Lindstrom were able to maintain the margin. Belisario pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, but Lindstrom's inning had far more dramatics, including:
- A leadoff walk
- A single
- A double play
- Josh Donaldson delivering a high-thigh spiking of Alexei Ramirez on said double play.
- A diving catch by Leury Garcia in center to end it.
Garcia robbed Yoenis Cespedes of a hit for the second straight game, having stolen a homer from him the day before. This one counted a little more, as the Sox managed to avoid the sweep.
Belisario picked up the win for recording the final out of the seventh before his scoreless eighth, but Andre Rienzo would have deserved one on other days. He allowed just two hits over his 6⅓ innings -- they just happened to be home runs, but at least they were solo shots. Otherwise, limiting Oakland's offense to four baserunners into the seventh is quite the accomplishment.
For a while, it looked like he might get saddled with a hard-luck loss. Beckham homered on the first pitch of the game for the quickest 1-0 lead possible, but the Sox couldn't get anything else off Tommy Milone. Perhaps sensing a dearth of opportunities, Joe McEwing tried forcing the issue in the fifth by trying to score Beckham on Gillaspie's double to left with two outs. The A's executed a perfect relay, and Beckham was out by 15-20 feet.
*Robin Ventura won his second challenge when home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez initially ruled that Milone's inside pitch hit the knob of Dayan Viciedo's bat, instead of his hand.
*Beckham and Gillaspie had three hits apiece at the top of the order. The rest of the lineup had three hits ... over 27 at-bats.