A’s dent Red Sox playoff hopes
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Rajai Davis hit a tiebreaking RBI triple in the seventh inning and Andrew Bailey struck out David Ortiz with the tying run on second to end the game, preserving the Oakland Athletics’ 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.
Adrian Beltre doubled in Victor Martinez with two out in the ninth to get Boston within one but pinch-hitter Ortiz looked at a called third strike, giving Bailey his 23rd save in 26 opportunities this season.
Oakland scored three times in the seventh and once in the eighth, erasing a 2-0 deficit and clinching its first season-series win over the Red Sox since 2006. Mark Ellis hit a tying RBI single before coming around on Davis’ hit.
Martinez, Beltre and Darnell McDonald had two hits apiece for Boston, which has lost six of eight and is struggling to stay in the playoff picture. The Red Sox were nine games back of the AL East-leading Yankees and 7 1/2 back in the wild-card race entering play Saturday.
The victory capped a big day for A’s manager Bob Geren, who is set to return to Oakland’s dugout next season. The team announced before the game it had exercised its option on Geren’s contract for the 2011 season, ensuring him of a fifth year in charge of the club.
“At the end of the day it seemed pretty obvious to all of us,” general manager Billy Beane said. “For us it’s critical that we have a manager that’s not only a teacher but has the patience to get through some of the growing pains a young player’s going to have. Bob and the rest of the staff have certainly done that.”
John Lackey (12-10) pitched seven innings for Boston, yielding three runs and six hits. The right-hander was working on a two-hit shutout before Oakland rallied in the seventh.
Daric Barton started the inning with a double and scored on Jack Cust’s one-out single. Cust took second when left fielder Bill Hall briefly bobbled the ball and came home Ellis’ tying hit to center.
After Jeremy Hermida struck out, Davis tripled to center to make it 3-2.
Lackey, who beat the A’s earlier this season despite allowing four earned runs and a season-high 12 hits, struck out six and walked none. The Red Sox have scored seven runs total in his last three games, all losses.
Brett Anderson (5-6) scattered eight hits over seven innings for Oakland. He struck out five and walked three.
Craig Breslow pitched a scoreless eighth before Bailey finished to help the A’s improve to 6-2 on their nine-game homestand.
Marco Scutaro homered for Boston, which has lost eight of its last 12 road games.
Scutaro, a popular player in Oakland when he played with the A’s from 2004-07, received a loud ovation from the Coliseum crowd when he led off the first inning. The cheers continued, this time from the Red Sox fans, when Scutaro connected on a 1-1 pitch from Anderson.
Scutaro, making a rare second straight start at second base, has reached base in 20 of his last 24 games. The home run was his fourth in September and 11th overall.
Boston added another run off Anderson in the sixth when Jed Lowrie doubled and scored on Ryan Kalish’s single.
Cust added an RBI single in the eighth for Oakland.
NOTES: Oakland 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff (back spasms) did not play and likely won’t return to the A’s lineup until next week when the team is on the road. … Oakland RHP Joey Devine threw 20 pitches in a simulated inning and reported no pain. … Geren presented several local heroes with baseballs autographed by Anderson before the game, including a 3-year-old girl who walked two blocks to get firefighters’ attention after her father had collapsed. … Ellis extended his hitting streak to 11 games, matching his career high. … Lackey did not walk a batter for the fourth time this season. … The A’s have stolen 135 bases this season, their most since swiping 143 in 1992.