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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, July 4th (All times Eastern)

Boston Red Sox (42-39) at Oakland Athletics (40-42), 4:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - Aaron Cook (2-1, 4.32) Oakland - A.J. Griffin (0-0, 1.50)

(Sports Network) - A.J. Griffin tries to pitch the Oakland Athletics to a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox this afternoon at the Coliseum.

Griffin has thrived in his two big league starts, but has nothing to show for it, despite a 1.50 ERA. After holding the San Francisco Giants to two runs in six innings of his debut, Griffin was even better against the high-powered offense of the Texas Rangers, limiting them to just two hits over six scoreless frames.

The 24-year-old righty, though, did not get a decision in either start, but enters today's finale with an 11 consecutive scoreless innings.

"It's pretty satisfying to do well against a team like that," Griffin said after the start against Texas.

The A's won in thrilling fashion on Tuesday, as Brandon Moss hit an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth and Coco Crisp followed with a game-winning sacrifice fly to lift Oakland to a 3-2 victory.

Crisp also hit a solo home run as Oakland won its third straight game.

Jerry Blevins (2-0) tossed 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Bartolo Colon returned from the disabled list and allowed two runs -- one earned -- on five hits and a walk in a six-inning start for the A's. He had been sidelined since suffering an oblique injury on June 17.

"He didn't have the best command of his two-seamer so he found something else to get him through the game," said A's manager Bob Melvin of Colon. "What he did for us too was big in the win."

Alfredo Aceves (0-6) gave up the deciding runs for Boston, which lost for the fourth time in six games.

Aceves' fourth blown save spoiled a strong start by Jon Lester, who yielded one run on four hits and a walk while striking out nine over 6 2/3 innings.

"You gotta tip your hat to those guys. They had a good plan in the ninth and executed it," remarked Lester. "It's just one of those nights that they had the momentum going into the ninth and we didn't and it is what it is."

Getting the call for the Red Sox today will be veteran Aaron Cook, who is 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA. Cook was brilliant on Friday against the Seattle Mariners, as he needed just 81 pitches in a two-hit shutout. It was the fewest pitches thrown by a Boston pitcher in a nine-inning shutout since Roger Clemens in 1986.

Since returning from the disabled list on June 24, Cook is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts.

"I've just been able to use my sinker successfully and that's a really huge key for me, being able to throw it down in the zone, get the guys swinging at the pitches I want them to swing at and having a great defense behind me," Cook said.

Cook has faced the A's twice and is 1-0 against them with a 1.13 ERA.

Oakland took two of three from the Red Sox earlier in the year. Another win today would give the A's their first sweep over Boston since turning the trick from May 23-25, 2008.

07/04 10:20:04 ET