Boston, MA – Mike Napoli went 2-for-4 and stroked a grand slam as part of a five-RBI night, and the Boston Red Sox clubbed their way past the Oakland Athletics, 9-6, in the opener of a three-game set at Fenway Park.
The red-hot Napoli, who was named the American League Co-Player of the Week with teammate Andrew Bailey on Monday, has driven in 17 runs over a nine-game tear and is batting a cool .351 over the stretch.
"He's a very good hitter," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Napoli. "He's got a long track record of extra-base and RBI production, but what he's done in this ballpark over the course of his career, those things are beacons when you look to select a player, and he's a very good fit here."
The Red Sox were swept in Sunday's doubleheader against Kansas City, but Felix Doubront (2-0) gave them a lift with a solid 6 2/3 innings of work. He struck out eight and gave up three runs on just three hits and five walks.
Overall, Boston starters are a combined 10-3 on the young season.
Will Middlebrooks cranked a three-run homer, Jarrod Saltalamacchia contributed an RBI double and Bailey notched his fourth save of season with a scoreless ninth after Oakland scored three runs in the eighth.
Oakland starter A.J. Griffin (2-1), who hadn't allowed more than two runs in any of his first three starts, was tagged for all nine runs -- seven earned -- on eight hits over four-plus innings.
The Athletics, losers in four straight, managed just five hits. Josh Reddick and Josh Donaldson had two RBI apiece and Chris Young drove in a run in the setback.
Oakland trailed 4-2 going into the fifth and had an excellent opportunity for a big inning, but managed just a single run.
Young pulled Oakland within one with a bases-loaded sac fly, but after Dubront loaded the bases again with a walk to Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie to flew out to center to end the inning.
Napoli made them pay in the bottom half when he came to the plate with the bases full, smacking Griffin's offering over the Green Monster in left to give Boston an 8-3 advantage.
Griffin was then chased from the game and replaced by Chris Resop after first baseman Moss committed a fielding error on Daniel Nava's chopper. The Red Sox would tack on one more run later in the frame on a Saltalamacchia double before Dustin Pedroia left the bases loaded.
The Athletics were able to plate three runs in the eighth off back-to-back doubles from Donaldson and Reddick, but the rally was stifled when Boston reliever Junichi Tazawa set down both pinch-hitter Eric Sogard and Coco Crisp.
Oakland scored first with two runs in the second. A wild pitch from Doubront with runners on second and third plated the first run, and Reddick made it 2-0 with a base hit up the middle.
Boston got one back in the bottom half of the frame following back-to-back doubles from David Ortiz and Napoli, then jumped in front for good in the fourth on Middlebrooks' three-run homer.
Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury was 1-for-3 and has hit safely in 12 straight games. He also swiped his ninth base of the season ... Oakland is just 1-6 against teams not in the AL West ... The A's haven't lost four in a row since a nine- game slide between May 22-June 1 of last season ... Boston snapped an eight- game losing streak to Oakland.