OAKLAND CA - JULY 21: Matt Watson #26 of the Oakland Athletics is congratulated by teammates after he hit his frist major league home run in the second inning of their game against the Boston Red Sox at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on July 21 2010 in Oakland California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A's Hold On To Take Series From Red Sox With 6-4 Win

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A's Give Buchholz A Rude Welcome Back

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Jack Cust finished 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and scored twice as Oakland took down Boston, 6-4, in the rubber match of a three-game set.

Rajai Davis added two RBI and Matt Watson slugged his first career home run for the Athletics, who have won seven of their last eight.

Gio Gonzalez (9-6) worked six innings for the win, allowing seven hits and four runs with three strikeouts and a pair of walks. Michael Wuertz turned in a scoreless ninth for his second save.

Adrian Beltre went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and drove in three for the Red Sox, who stumbled to their fifth loss in seven contests.

Activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game after recovering from a strained left hamstring, Clay Buchholz (10-5) was shelled in defeat for six hits and five runs, fanning two with three walks over four-plus frames.

Jed Lowrie's one-out run-scoring hit in the fifth got the Sox within a run, but the A's chased Buchholz in the home half, scoring three times to take a 6-2 advantage.

Kurt Suzuki and Cust stroked back-to-back hits before Scott Atchison took the hill. He allowed a one-out RBI single from Mark Ellis, then after a passed ball moved both runners into scoring position, Davis stroked a two-run hit to center before being caught in a rundown between first and second.

Beltre's two-run homer to right-center in the sixth made it 6-4, but Boston couldn't score with two on in the seventh. Neither could the A's extend their advantage, as Davis flied out with the bases loaded in the home half.

Oakland's Coco Crisp hit a one-out triple in the eighth but was erased at home trying to score on a fly to left from Cliff Pennington.

The failed attempt at an insurance run wasn't costly, though, as Wuertz set down the side in order in the ninth to lock up the victory.

Boston picked up a run in the first after a Beltre RBI single, then Watson knotted the score in the second with a one-out solo shot.

In the home third, Daric Barton reached on a leadoff infield single and scored on Cust's two-run blast two batters later.

Watson had played in 36 previous MLB games with the Mets (2003) and A's (2005; 2010) and went 75 career at-bats before going deep...The Sox head to Seattle for four games starting Thursday, continuing their 10-day, 10-game western road swing...Oakland improved to 22-10 this season in day games...The A's host the White Soxfor three starting Friday...Boston also activated Lowrie off the 60-day disabled list, designated infielder Ryan Shealy for assignment, while optioning pitchers Dustin Richardson and Fernando Cabrera to Triple-A Pawtucket.


A's Will Have Work Cut Out For Them As Buchholz Returns

(Sports Network) - Injuries to a number of key performers have caused the Boston Red Sox to lose ground in the American League playoff race. They'll get one of those players back this afternoon, however, with standout pitcher Clay Buchholz set to toe the rubber in today's finale of a three-game road series with the Oakland Athletics.

Buchholz stood among the league leaders in wins when he was forced to exit a June 26 game at San Francisco after just one inning due to a strained left hamstring. The injury also forced the first-time All-Star to miss last week's Midsummer Classic, where he had earned a spot on the AL roster after amassing a 10-4 record in 15 starts along with a 2.45 earned run average that's tops in the Junior Circuit at the moment.

The right-hander enters today's matchup having won seven of his past eight decisions and prepped for this assignment with a 3 2/3-inning rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. Buchholz threw 60 pitches and was reached for a pair of runs on four hits in that game.

The 25-year-old will be making his second career start against Oakland this afternoon and looks to build upon a sensational 5-1 record and 1.70 ERA on the road this year. Buchholz got a no-decision in a Fenway Park clash with the A's last season after letting up a pair of runs in 5 2/3 innings of work.

He'll be getting the call today for a Boston squad that's dropped nine of its last 13 tests following last night's extra-inning setback to the A's. Oakland came through with a 5-4 victory on Kevin Kouzmanoff's RBI single with two out in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Both Kouzmanoff and Jack Cust drove in two runs to help Oakland avenge a 2-1 defeat in Monday's series opener and record its sixth win in seven games. Daric Barton collected a pair of hits and scored the deciding run shortly after singling off Boston reliever Ramon Ramirez (0-3) with one out in the 10th.

"Anytime you can win an extra-inning game it's nice, but when it's against a team like the Red Sox, it's nicer because of how good they are," Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki remarked afterward.

Andrew Bailey (1-3) did his part as well for Oakland, with the All-Star closer tossing two scoreless innings to pick up the win.

Marco Scutaro finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored in Boston's latest loss. The Red Sox enter this evening's play six games behind the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East and 3 1/2 behind Tampa Bay for the lead in the league's Wild Card race.

Gio Gonzalez will attempt to pitch Oakland to a series win, as well as duplicate an excellent performance in his latest start, when he takes the mound for the home team this afternoon. The young left-hander got his second half off to a terrific beginning when he limited Kansas City to one run over seven innings in a 5-1 Athletics' win this past Friday. More importantly, he walked only one batter for the game after issuing four or more free passes in each of his three prior appearances.

Gonzalez improved to 8-6 and lowered his season ERA to a respectable 3.63 ERA with Friday's verdict, and he's been tough on the Coliseum mound as well. In nine home starts thus far in 2010, the 24-year-old has generated a 4-3 record along with a 2.98 ERA.

The former supplemental first-round draft choice has received a pair of no- decisions in two lifetime starts against the Red Sox, including a June 1 affair in Boston in which he was touched for three runs in five innings.

The Red Sox won two of three games from the A's in a series held at Fenway Park earlier this season, but have lost in six of their past eight visits to the Oakland Coliseum.


A's Win Big In Extra Innings, Go Up Two Against The Red Sox

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Kevin Kouzmanoff's RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted theOakland Athletics to a 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox in the middle installment of a three-game series.

Kouzmanoff and Jack Cust both drove in two runs for Oakland, which evened this three-game series after losing Monday's opener and has now won six of its last seven games overall. Daric Barton posted two hits and two runs scored, including crossing home plate with the game-winning run.

Marco Scutaro finished with two hits, two runs scored and an RBI for the Red Sox, who fell to 2-4 since the All-Star break.

In the bottom of the 10th inning, Barton singled with one out and advanced to second when Ramon Ramirez (0-3) balked. Kurt Suzuki was then intentionally walked before Dustin Richardson struck out Adam Rosales.

That brought Boston's Michael Bowden in from the bullpen to face Kouzmanoff, who laced a soft single into shallow right field and the throw from J.D. Drew was off the mark as Barton crossed the plate and ended the game.

Andrew Bailey (1-3), who pitched two scoreless relief frames, earned the win.

An RBI double by Kevin Youkilis in the top of the first opened the scoring and the visitors tacked on three more runs in the second inning.

With one out in the second, Mike Cameron doubled and raced around to score when Bill Hall followed with a single to right field. Kevin Cash fanned for the second out, but Scutaro's two-base hit brought home Hall, andDarnell McDonald followed suit with yet another RBI two-base hit.

Oakland tied it up with four runs in the home third. Coco Crisp doubled with one out and Barton walked before a double-steal put runners on second and third. Suzuki was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Cust, whose one- run double cut the A's deficit in half.

A passed ball charged to catcher Cash saw Suzuki hurry home for the third run of the inning. On the play, Cust advanced to third, which proved important. The next batter was Kouzmanoff, who hit a fly ball that was deep enough to center field to allow Cust to successfully tag-up and create a 4-4 score.

Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision. Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield allowed four runs -- three earned -- on three hits with five strikeouts in six innings of work. Wakefield's counterpart, Dallas Braden, yielded four runs -- only one of which was earned -- on 10 hits with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings...Crisp was ejected in the 10th inning for arguing balls and strikes, as was Boston pitching coach John Farrell for the same reason in the same inning by home plate umpire Bob Davidson...The Red Sox outhit the A's, 12-6...Boston stranded 12 baserunners...Attendance was 20,271.


Game Two: Braden Returns From Elbow Pain

(Sports Network) - After getting an important West Coast road trip off to a good start, the Boston Red Sox shoot for a second straight win over the Oakland Athletics when the teams continue a three-game series tonight at the Coliseum.

Boston entered last night's matchup with the surging Athletics having lost eight of their past 11 contests, but were able to snap Oakland's season-high five-game win streak with a 2-1 decision in the opener. Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 6 2/3 strong innings to lead the way, while Adrian Beltre went 3-for-4 with a solo home run to pace the Red Sox offensively.

Beltre broke a 1-1 deadlock with a blast off A's starter Ben Sheets in the top of the fourth inning, and Matsuzaka (7-3) made the lead stand by limiting Oakland to the one run and a mere two hits before turning the game over to the Boston bullpen. Daniel Bard followed with 1 1/3 scoreless innings before closer Jonathan Papelbon threw a 1-2-3 ninth to record his 21st save.

"He was able to throw strikes with every pitch that he has," Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash said of Matsuzaka. "He even broke out his changeup, which he doesn't use that much recently, and it was pretty effective for him. When you can get that cut fastball into lefties and then get ahead with his fastball down and away to righties, he's going to have good outings."

Boston, which had dropped three of four bouts at home to American League West- leading Texas to begin its post-All Star break schedule, remained 3 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay for the lead in the league's Wild Card race. The Red Sox are six back of the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East standings.

Sheets (4-9) pitched well in a losing cause, allowing both Boston runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings of work.

"It's been up and down for me," said Sheets, who fired six shutout innings to beat the Los Angeles Angels in his previous start. "It seems like every time I get on a high, I come back down. There's still a lot of season left, though."

Oakland managed just three hits on the night, with Rajai Davis' solo homer in the third inning accounting for the team's only run.

The Red Sox will now try to register back-to-back wins for the first time since July 2-3 and send Tim Wakefieldto the mound tonight. The veteran knuckleballer hopes to end his own recent struggles, as he's gone 1-4 with a 5.94 ERA over his last six starts and permitted four or more runs in five of those outings.

Wakefield is coming off an especially ineffective appearance against the Rangers on Thursday, when he was battered for seven runs (six earned) and eight hits before being yanked after only two innings of his club's 7-2 loss. In his final start before the All-Star break, the right-hander surrendered six runs and walked six in 5 2/3 frames in a July 7 setback at Tampa Bay.

The 43-year-old also wasn't sharp in a matchup with the A's on June 3, with Wakefield being tagged for six runs and serving up two homers through six innings to take a loss. He's 11-7 with a 4.22 ERA in 40 lifetime games, 22 of which have been starts, against Oakland, however.

Dallas Braden draws the assignment for the Athletics tonight and will be making his first start since June 22. The left-hander has missed close to a month with elbow soreness, but pronounced himself ready to go after completing a successful bullpen session on Sunday.

Braden is best known for throwing the 19th perfect game in major league history in a 4-0 verdict over Tampa Bay May 9 at the Coliseum. He's yet to win since accomplishing the memorable feat, however, having gone 0-5 with a 4.32 ERA in eight subsequent starts. Poor run support has played a part in Braden's drought, as the A's scored two or less runs in seven of those games.

The 26-year-old took another loss in his most recent start, a 4-2 defeat to Cincinnati in which he allowed four runs (three earned) and 10 hits over six innings.

Braden is 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in two career meetings with the Red Sox, garnering that only victory with six innings of two-run ball at the Coliseum last season.

The Red Sox did win two of three games from the A's in a series held at Fenway Park earlier this season, but had lost in five of their past six visits to the Coliseum before last night's triumph.


Recap: A's Lose To Red Sox 2-1

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Adrian Beltre went 3-for-4 with a home run and Daisuke Matsuzaka threw into the seventh inning, as the Boston Red Sox cooled off the Oakland Athletics with a 2-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series.

Matsuzaka (7-3) pitched 6 2/3 innings, and the only run he gave up came on a home run by Rajai Davis. Overall, the right-hander gave up two hits, walked two and struck out six.

Daniel Bard threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, while Jonathan Papelbon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure his 21st save and the win for the Red Sox, who had dropped three of four to Texas over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the Athletics brought a five-game win streak into Monday's game, their longest of the season, but had that broken as their offense posted three hits.

Ben Sheets (4-9) took the loss after allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings.

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