Both the Bruins and Celtics were in playoff action in the first weeks of May, often pushing the Sox to the bottom of the sports page. This might have been a good thing, as the Townies continued to disappoint, especially at the plate.
The high-flying Oakland A's came to town and took two of three. Jeff Sellers continued to lack run support, falling 3-0. Sellers hurled 8 1/3, allowing 7 hits and all three runs while fanning 7. Dave Parker's two-run homer in the fifth gave the Athletics a three-run lead,and they never looked back. Meanwhile, Storm Davis and three relievers shut Boston down, with old pal Dennis Eckersley picking up his 14th save. The loss left Sellers at 0-4 despite a fine 3.35 ERA. The Sox threatened often, but stranded 14. Steve Ellsworth started the next night and was hammered again, lasting only 1 1/3 innings and allowing 6 runs on 6 hits as Oakland coasted 12-7. John Trautwein was no better in relief, surrendering 5 before Bob Stanley came in and quieted things a bit. Both former Soxer Carney Lansford and Walt Weiss notched 3 hits for the A's, who brought their road record to an incredible 19-4. Sox bats woke up a bit with 16 safeties, but could not match the A's. The Globe game story mentioned "muscular kids like (Mark) McGuire and (Jose) Canseco" Who would have known then what was going on all over the majors?
The home squad did salvage the third contest, as Oil Can Boyd had his best outing in weeks, triumphing 4-1 over Oakland ace Dave Stewart. Stewart was uncharacteristically wild, walking 9 in 6 innings and was victimized by some errors. Boyd went 8 frames, allowing 6 hits and fanning 4.
For the first time in a while, Boston made it two straight the following day behind Bruce Hurst, who went 7 2/3 in an 8-4 triumph over Los Angeles. Journeyman Ray Krawczyk made his first start for the last-place Angels, but was ineffective. Mike Greenewell provided some power with his fifth homer, a three-run shot to give the Sox a 5-3 advantage. The Sox reached Krawczyk for three more in the fifth, and he left after surrendering all 8 runs. Hurst allowed only two earned runs and brought his mark to 6-1. But the hitting drought returned the next night, as Roger Clemens fell 4-2 in 10 innings. In a questionable move, John McNamara allowed the Rocket to go all the way and throw 150 pitches despite recovering from a sore knee. DH Jim Rice had another tough night, hitting into two rally-killing DP's and seeing his average drop further.
The erratic Sox bats returned in the series finale, as the much-maligned Stanley continued to star in relief. The Steamer threw 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball as Boston triumphed 12-4 over LA. Despite being staked to a lead, Sellers faltered, leaving after 3 1/3,charged with 7 hits and 4 runs. Against starter Willie Fraser and two relievers, the Bosox slammed 16 hits, including 3 each from Wade Boggs and Dwight Evans, and Greenwell connected for another homer. Stanley now had an 0.77 ERA and was actually hearing some cheers.
The Bosox now stood at 22-17, only 4 behind the Yankees but underachieving in the eyes of many fans. Though their team average was .276. they had connected for only 20 homers in 39 games. DH's Rice and Sam Horn were at .226 and .167 respectively, with only 2 round trippers between them, On the mound, Clemens was the only starter with an ERA under 4. The Fenway Faithful were restless.