Eveland's short outing sends A's to loss

Eveland's short outing dooms A's

BOSTON -- Having been recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to fill in for Dallas Braden, a friend who'd been placed on bereavement leave Monday so he could fly home to be with his ailing grandmother, A's left-hander Dana Eveland said it wasn't the way he wanted to get back to the big leagues.

His short stay in the big leagues didn't go the way he wanted, either.

Eveland was essentially optioned back to Sacramento late Tuesday after giving up four runs on six hits and three walks over 2 2/3 innings. The A's never recovered and took a 5-2 loss at the hands of the host Red Sox in the second game of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

The "essentially" regarding the Eveland move is needed as a qualifier to the actual transaction. Technically, Eveland was designated for assignment, which often means a team has given up hope on a player and is willing to lose him on waivers.

Assistant general manager David Forst, however, explained that in Eveland's case, he simply needs to clear "optional waivers" over the next 48 hours before being officially optioned because he made his Major League debut three years ago.

Forst noted that Eveland will not have to be removed from the 40-man roster.

"It's strictly procedural," Forst said.

Confused? So was Eveland.

"They tried to explain it to me, but I still don't think I understand," he said with a shrug. "All I know is I'm going to Fresno [where Sacramento plays next], and I'm still on the 40-man [roster], so I guess that's good."

Career-wise, it is. Paychecks are good. Eveland's actual outing was not.

Sent to the Minors to work on his command after a rough first month of the season in the Majors, Eveland (1-3) didn't have a problem getting ahead of hitters Tuesday. Finishing the at-bats proved a far taller order; he was perfect in the bottom of the first inning and anything but thereafter.

"I was still throwing strikes in those situations, but I really struggled tonight to put guys away," Eveland said. "It was a lack of execution overall; I missed some spots in key situations."

Eveland's early meltdown wiped away the early advantage that Scott Hairston had given Oakland when he homered in the first at-bat of his first start for the A's.

Acquired in a Sunday trade with the Padres, Hairston blasted a high heater from Boston starter Josh Beckett that was clocked at 96 mph high over the Green Monster with two outs in the top of the first.

"Hairston tomahawked one that's probably still going," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Beckett thoroughly outpitched his counterpart, ripping through 6 2/3 innings and holding the A's to six hits and a walk while striking out four to win his 10th game of the year against three losses.

"He was really good," Hairston said. "He spotted his fastball in and out, and his breaking ball was very effective. ... We put some good swings on him, but when he's on, he's on."

Jason Bay's leadoff homer to left-center tied things up in the second, and David Ortiz followed with a double before scoring the go-ahead run on a double-play ball. Boston added on with Jason Varitek's two-out two-run single in the third, and Eveland was gone after allowing an infield single to the next batter.

Two-out doubles by Ryan Sweeney and Adam Kennedy helped the A's (35-47) cut the lead to 4-2 in the fifth, but the Red Sox (50-33) got the run back on Dustin Pedroia's two-out RBI single off Russ Springer in the sixth.

Oakland manager Bob Geren didn't have much to talk about after the game before giving the floor to Forst for the aforementioned explanation of the Eveland move, a corresponding move to which will be announced Wednesday.

Geren made sure to mention Hairston's homer, though. Hairston batted third ahead of sluggers Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi, and Jack Cust's team-high 14 homers were in the No. 7 spot. It was home run No. 11 for Hairston, pulling him even with Giambi for the year, while Holliday has eight.

"He had a very nice, short swing to the ball; pretty impressive first at-bat," Geren said. "He's another guy in the lineup who can pop one out. ... Start to get some home runs back on the board -- that's what we need."

"It did feel good to get the first hit [with the A's] out of the way," Hairston said. "Especially off a pitcher like Josh Beckett."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.