BOSTON (AP) — After nearly 11 hours from the first pitch to the last, the Boston Red Sox could finally rest and dry out after a rain-delayed doubleheader sweep of the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.
"I remember this one at bat, I got water dripping out of my helmet. So you have the water, you have the ball coming," David Ortiz said. "You just stick with it."
The Red Sox won 9-3 and 4-0 as Ortiz went 5 for 8 with three runs and four RBIs. He hit a two-run homer in the nightcap as four Boston pitchers held Oakland to three singles. There was a one-hour delay in the top of the fifth.
In the opener, Jason Varitek hit a two-run homer and Jon Lester allowed three hits in six innings. That game was delayed twice — by 45 minutes after the sixth inning and by 2 hours, 15 minutes after the seventh.
"Pretty much a miserable day. The weather, the field conditions, everything," Athletics third baseman Scott Sizemore said. "Four rain delays — or how ever many there were — kind of takes away any momentum you're trying to get going."
The first game was moved up to noon from 1:10 p.m. to make room for the second game that was rescheduled from Sunday to avoid Hurricane Irene's effects. The opener actually started at 12:02 p.m. and the nightcap ended at 10:58 when center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury caught Cliff Pennington's fly ball.
Erik Bedard allowed two singles in four innings in Game 2 before being replaced when play resumed by Alfredo Aceves (9-1), who pitched three hitless innings. Daniel Bard allowed a single in the eighth before Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth.
"We were really fortunate the way it worked out," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "We won. We used every (relief) pitcher once but (Franklin) Morales and he threw a little bullpen and he's been used a lot. It worked out really well. Now we can let the guys regroup."
The Red Sox don't play again until Tuesday night when they open a three-games series at home against New York. Boston, 8-3 in its last 11 games, increased its AL East lead to two games over the Yankees, who had a doubleheader at Baltimore rained out.
With no common off day with the Athletics the rest of the season, the Red Sox wanted to avoid a rainout.
"We knew it had playoff implications and they had to try and get it in," Sizemore said.
Fans with tickets for the scheduled 5:05 p.m. start were allowed through the turnstiles during the second delay in the opener. The game ended at 6:08 and the nightcap began at 6:52.
The Red Sox allowed just three runs and 11 hits to an Oakland team that had averaged nine runs in its previous four games.
"Based on the way we've been swinging the bats lately (they pitched) really well," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said.
In Game 2, the Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second against Graham Godfrey (1-2) when Dustin Pedroia doubled and Ortiz hit his 27th homer. They made it 3-0 in the fourth on consecutive singles by Pedroia, Ortiz and Jed Lowrie, and an RBI groundout by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
They scored their final run in the sixth off Josh Outman. Lowrie reached second on a two-base throwing error by Sizemore. After Carl Crawford flied out, Saltalamacchia hit a popup to short right field. First baseman Brandon Allen ran back but, as he looked up into the rain, the ball bounced off his glove and he fell. Saltalamacchia was credited with an RBI double.
Bedard walked just five batters in his other four games with Boston but walked four of his first seven Saturday night. His last batter, Anthony Recker, singled for his first major league hit before play was halted in the fifth.
In the opener, Lester (14-6) allowed two runs, one of them earned, walked two and fanned four, improving to 7-0 with a 1.54 ERA in nine afternoon starts.
"His cutter's been tremendous," Francona said. "Once it rained, he was through."
Lester started under bright skies but heavy rain fell on and off during the middle innings.
"The conditions were really bad. The mound wasn't bad, but anytime you took the ball out of your glove it was wet," he said. "I had no grip. I was trying to tell the umpires that. Maybe the second time it went to the backstop made them realize it wasn't safe."
Ortiz added a pair of doubles and drove in two runs and Mike Aviles collected three singles for Boston.
Allen hit a solo homer for the Athletics.
The second delay of the opener came after Varitek bounced weakly to the mound.
Crew chief Tim McClelland told a pool reporter between games that the first game had to end before the second could be started.
"Yes. That's what Joe (Torre) told me," McClelland said.
Torre is the executive vice president of baseball operations.
"To play the second game, we've got to play the first one," Francona said. "We've done it the other way a couple of years ago against Minnesota."
In April 2009, Boston led Minnesota 10-1 when the game was ended by rain after seven innings so the teams could get ready for the second game.
"That was an aberration," McClelland said. "I talked to Joe. According to the rules, that can't happen or shouldn't happen."
In the opener, the Red Sox scored three runs in each of the second and third innings against Guillermo Moscoso (6-8) to open a 7-2 lead. With two outs in the second, Josh Reddick walked before Varitek homered. Ellsbury added an RBI double.
Moscoso gave up eight runs — seven earned — nine hits and walked a pair without striking out anyone.
Boston moved ahead 1-0 in the first on Pedroia's RBI single, but Allen's homer tied it in the second.
NOTES: Adrian Gonzalez's third-inning double in the opener gave him a career-high 183 hits. ... Francona said that RHP Clay Buchholz, a key part of the rotation who has been on the DL since June 17 with a strained lower back, will be re-examined in "the next couple of days. But even if the examination is good, he's not allowed to throw until (Sept. 1)." ... The A's recalled Godfrey from Sacramento in between games and sent pitcher Jerry Blevins to the Triple-A team . ... The Red Sox will send John Lackey (12-9) to the mound Tuesday night against the Yankees. Oakland resumes play Monday with Brandon McCarthy (7-6) facing David Huff (1-2) of the Indians in Cleveland.