Fan seriously injured in Red Sox win
BOSTON — The Athletics and Red Sox came to a stop while a woman was treated for life-threatening injuries after she was struck by a broken bat that flew into the stands.
Concerned players watched. The crowd went quiet.
Everything that followed meant little Friday night — Oakland's Pat Venditte becoming the first pitcher in 20 years to throw with both arms in the same game, Wade Miley pitching impressively for Boston, the Red Sox beating the Athletics 4-2.
"Any time anybody's taken off the field on a stretcher you have your fingers crossed," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "You realize that that's a lot more important than a baseball game."
With one out in the top of the second inning, Oakland's Brett Lawrie's bat broke on his groundout to second and flew into the stands between home plate and third base. Medical personnel rushed to the box seat where the woman, whose head was bloodied, was sitting. There's no netting in front of the seats in that area.
Josh Reddick finished the inning with another groundout to second.
Then, with Mookie Betts waiting to lead off the bottom of the second for Boston, play was delayed for several minutes while the woman was treated, placed on a stretcher and wheeled away for more treatment.
"I heard her," Betts said. "I looked around, saw some blood and looked away."
Boston police spokesman David Estrada confirmed the bat hit the fan and said her injuries were life threatening. She was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
"There was just some bad luck," Lawrie said. "There's really no time (for fans) to react behind the dish. ... Unfortunately, everything's so close behind there.
"Hopefully, everything's all right," he added.
Dustin Pedroia had three hits for Boston, which led 3-0 after four innings and ended Oakland's four-game winning streak.
Miley (5-5) allowed an RBI single to Marc Canha in the fifth, but Boston made it 4-1 on a run-scoring single by Brock Holt in the bottom of the inning off Scott Kazmir (2-4).
"He's settled in to the type of pitcher he was for three years in Arizona," before Boston traded for him before this season, Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Take away the first three, four starts of the season and he's gotten back to attacking the strike zone down."
Lawrie led off the seventh with his fifth homer of the year.
Miley allowed two runs on six hits in 7 1-3 innings. Junichi Tazawa got the last two outs in the eighth and Koji Uehara escaped a second-and-third jam in the ninth for his 12th save in 14 opportunities.
Venditte entered the game to start the eighth for his major league debut and became the first pitcher since Greg A. Harris with Montreal on Sept. 28, 1995, to throw with both arms in the same game. He was called up Friday from Triple-A Nashville in his eighth minor league season. The Fenway Park organist played Joni Mitchell's, "Both Sides, Now," as Venditte made his way to the mound.
He started throwing warmup pitches with his right hand then switched to his left to face lefty Holt, who grounded out to first.
Venditte then pitched right-handed to Hanley Ramirez, who singled, and to Mike Napoli, who grounded into a double play. In two innings, Venditte allowed one hit and had one strikeout.
"Whatever attention comes with it is fine, but we're here to win games," Venditte said. "It doesn't matter if I'm pitching with both hands or one. It's one effort."
Boston took a 1-0 lead in the first when Pedroia singled and scored when Holt doubled and left fielder Ben Zobrist made an error trying to field the ball. Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly in the third. In the fourth, Xander Bogaerts doubled and scored on Betts' infield single and a throwing error by third baseman Lawrie.
Left fielder Alejandro De Aza, in his first game with Boston since being obtained from Baltimore, rushed in to make the game-ending catch on Canha's liner.
"Even though we didn't play the greatest game in the world," Melvin said, "we were there at the end and one swing away at potentially taking the lead."
Athletics: C Stephen Vogt sat out the game after having leg cramps while chasing a foul pop in Thursday's win at Detroit. Josh Phegley replaced him.
Red Sox: RHP Justin Masterson, on the 15-day DL with shoulder tendinitis, made a rehab start for Double-A Portland. In 4 2-3 innings, he allowed two runs, both earned, eight hits and one walk with two strikeouts.
Athletics: RHP Jesse Chavez (2-5, 2.11 ERA) pitches the second game of the three-game series. He pitched eight innings in each of his last two appearances while allowing no earned runs.
Red Sox: RHP Joe Kelly (1-4, 5.83) goes for his second straight solid outing. He has given up a total of four earned runs in three of his last four starts and seven earned runs in the other.