Even as some of the A's usually reliable starters have stumbled in the early going, A.J. Griffin kept whirring away, keeping the success from his rookie season going.
That is, until he made his first career appearance at Fenway Park. The Red Sox hammered Griffin and the A's defense deteriorated behind him. The final damage was a career-high nine runs, seven earned, charged to Griffin in a 9-6 loss to Boston.
"It humbles you a bit, obviously," Griffin said. "You're not going to be lights out all the time ... but you don't hang your head or anything. I'll go out there and throw strikes and let this one go."
Usually, the A's have good odds of winning with Griffin on the mound. They'd finished on top in 15 of his first 18 career starts, and Griffin was the only Oakland pitcher besides Tim Hudson and Barry Zito to earn wins in nine of his first 18 starts.
No. 19 was a stinker, though. He allowed a run in the second on back-to-back doubles by David Ortiz and Mike Napoli, then three in the fourth on a homer by Will Middlebrooks. Napoli hit a grand slam off Griffin in the fifth.
Griffin said he felt as if he was making good pitches, but, he said, "They were just really aggressive right off the bat. I was trying to get ahead, and they were putting good swings on it."
A's manager Bob Melvin said Griffin might have been rushing a bit. "Balls he usually throws at the knees were more middle-thigh," Melvin said.