BOSTON — Rookie Brett Anderson threw Oakland’s first complete game since last July 8 and outpitched 21-year veteran John Smoltz to lead the Athletics to a 6-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night.
Former Boston star Nomar Garciaparra tipped his helmet and tapped his chest as he received a one-minute standing ovation before his first at-bat as an opponent at Fenway Park, then singled twice and drove in the first run.
Anderson, who was 82 days old when Smoltz made his major league debut on April 23, 1988, struck out a career-high nine, allowed two singles and two walks and ended Oakland’s 151-game stretch without a complete game.
Oakland began the day with the AL’s lowest batting average (.240), second-worst record (34-46) and eight losses in its previous 11 games. Boston has the best record in the league (49-33) and leads the New York Yankees by one game in the AL East.
Smoltz had one bad inning, giving up four runs in the fourth, while Anderson (5-7) stymied the Red Sox for most of the game. Opponents were hitting .365 with runners in scoring position against him, fourth-highest in the AL, but Boston went 0 for 4 in those situations.
With one out in the second, Jason Bay singled and stole second, Jason Varitek walked, but Rocco Baldelli grounded into a double play. That began a stretch of 10 straight outs, five on consecutive strikeouts.
Baldelli ended that streak with a two-out walk in the fifth and Nick Green singled, but Aaron Bates, playing his first major-league game, struck out.
The Red Sox threatened again with one out in the seventh when center fielder Scott Hairston dropped Bay’s fly ball for a three-base error. But Anderson shut them down again, getting Varitek to foul out to first and Baldelli to fly to right.
Smoltz (0-2) made his third start after missing more than a year following shoulder surgery in his 20th season with Atlanta. He remained winless since an 8-0 victory over Florida on April 17, 2008.
He gave up two hits and a walk but no runs in the first. Then he got pounded in the fourth.
The first three batters got hits — a double by Jason Giambi, a single by Kurt Suzuki and an RBI single by Garciaparra in his first game at Fenway since he was sent to the Chicago Cubs in a four-team deal at the 2004 trade deadline after 8½ years with Boston in which he hit .323.
Then Smoltz retired the next two batters before Mark Ellis hit a two-run double and Adam Kennedy singled home the fourth run. Smoltz allowed an-other RBI single by Kennedy before leaving after the sixth.
Oakland got its last run in the ninth when Orlando Cabrera, who came to Boston in the 2004 trade and replaced Garciaparra at shortstop, hit his fourth homer.