Game over: Red Sox 4, Athletics 2: John Lackey pitched seven strong innings and Dustin Pedroia had the key hit as the Sox beat the Athletics before an energetic crowd of 27,084.
Koji struck out the side for his save. High-fives all around.
That’s four wins in a row for the Red Sox, who extended their lead on Tampa Bay in the American League East to 4½ games.
The Sox are 5-3 on a West Coast road trip that has two games remaining. They also obtained lefthanded reliever Matt Thornton from the Chicago White Sox.
Lackey (7-6) has had what amounts to a season of success in his career against Oakland. He improved to 19-6 against them in 34 career starts.
Lackey has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last six starts and not allowed more than two earned runs. It’s hard to say where the Red Sox would be without him but it likely would not be first place.
Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 4, A’s 2: Napoli led off with a triple. Bradley ran for him. Nava grounded to short and Bradley stayed put with the infield in. Salty walked. Iggy then tried a safety squeeze bunt. It was too hard and Moss came in from first and threw Bradley out. Holt then grounded to short.
Koji in to try to close it out.
Top of the 9th: Red Sox 4, A’s 2: Bailey replaced Lackey and walked Jaso before setting down the side. Bailey has thrown 5.1 scoreless innings in his last four outings, allowing two hits and striking out seven.
Lackey has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last six starts and not allowed more than two earned runs. It’s hard to say where the Red Sox would be without him but it likely would not be first place. He went seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits with four walks and five strikeouts.
Lackey has a 2.32 earned run average over his last 10 starts and a 2.78 on the season.
Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 4, A’s 2: Lefthander Sean Doolittle replaced Parker, who retired the final 16 batters he faced. Iglesias greeted him with a single down the line in right. Holt then bunted Iglesias to second base.
Ellsbury grounded to second and Iglesias took third. Parker then hit Victorino on his right wrist with a 96-mph fastball. It was the first time Doolittle has hit a batter in 85 career appearances.
Victorino stayed in the game, but Parker didn’t. Oakland brought in righthander Ryan Cook to face Pedroia.
After Victorino stole second, Pedroia slapped a hanging slider into left field for a two-run single.
Top of the 6th: Red Sox 2, A’s 2: Jed Lowrie homered to right field to start the inning. Why can’t the Red Sox . . . oh forget it.
Meanwhile Parker has retired 13 Red Sox in order since Holt’s two-run single in the second inning.
Top of the 5th: Red Sox 2, A’s 1: Lackey allowed his first hit, a double off the wall by Smith to start the inning. He then walked Crisp with one out before Jason singled in a run. Victorino booted the ball and Crisp went to third.
Donaldson hit a smash up the middle that Pedroia gloved from his knees and flipped to Iggy to start a double play that ended the inning and saved a run.
Top of the 5th: Red Sox 2, A’s 0: Parker has set down the last seven Sox in a row. Lackey walked Cespedes and Moss with two outs before fanning Reddick to end the inning.
Top of the 4th: Red Sox 2, A’s 0: Both pitchers retired the side in order. Oakland still looking for a hit.
Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 2, A’s 0: It was an eventful top of the second inning.
Napoli led off with a single and went to third on a throwing error by Donaldson at third. Nava was then hit by a pitch that glanced off his helmet and hit umpire C.B. Bucknor square in the mask. Bucknor left the game and there was a delay of several minutes so second base umpire Bill Miller could suit up and get behind the plate.
When play started up again, Saltalamacchia flied deep to center and the runners advanced. Iglesias flied to right and Napoli retreated to third after breaking down the line.
With two outs, Holt singled to left field and two runs scored. Holt took second on the throw and third on an error. Ellsbury grounded out to end the inning.
Lackey walked two in the bottom of the inning but escaped trouble.
Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, A’s 0: Pedroia, the pride of Woodland, Calif., (about 90 minutes away) singled with two outs before Ortiz flied to center.
Lackey then retired the side in order. He has pitched what amounts to an entire season of his career against the A’s and knows this mound well.
Pre-game: Good evening from Oakland Coliseum, which is quite a dump. The Red Sox and Athletics are the two best teams in the American League and two good pitchers are on the mound in John Lackey and Jarrod Parker.
Stay up for the game and follow along here for updates.