Oakland, CA – A.J. Griffin pitched seven strong innings and the Oakland Athletics won their eighth in a row and shut down the frustrated Boston Red Sox for a second straight night, 7-1, in the second portion of a three-game series.
Coming off a 20-2 loss on Friday, the Red Sox tied a season-high with their fifth consecutive defeat, and tempers boiled over in the dugout.
Alfredo Aceves, who was suspended three games reportedly for slamming the door to manager Bobby Valentine's office at Fenway Park. had a night to forget. The right-hander dropped a foul pop-up in the fourth inning and then got into a verbal spat in the dugout with second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Aceves pitched three innings in relief of Felix Doubront (10-7), who fell to 0-3 over his last six starts and hasn't won since July 18.
Coco Crisp had three hits, including a homer to start the bottom of the first inning, as the A's established a season-best winning streak and climbed within three games of Texas for first place in the AL West.
Brandon Inge had a two-run double and Derek Norris also drove in a pair. Inge, who was activated from the disabled list earlier Saturday, aggravated a right shoulder injury and was forced from the contest after the third inning.
Griffin (4-0) retired the first 14 batters until Jarrod Saltalamacchia bunted for a hit. Griffin allowed two more hits and a run and fanned five. Pat Neshek pitched the final two frames.
"The command is what we've always seen," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Griffin. "Good curveball, great touch, spinning the ball."
"Crisp homered to left field, and the A's tacked on four runs in the third inning. Crisp was thrown out at home trying to score on a double from Jonny Gomes.
Yoenis Cespedes singled in Gomes, and then stole two bases standing up on consecutive pitches. After Inge's two-run double to right field off the glove of Cody Ross near the wall, Norris singled to center for a 5-1 lead.
The A's didn't score in the fourth, but Aceves prolonged an at-bat by Gomes. A foul pop came between Saltalamacchia and first baseman James Loney, but Aceves called them both off and dropped the ball.
In the dugout, Pedroia was seen yelling at Aceves. Third base coach Jerry Royster had to intervene.
"Nobody was upset," Aceves said. "It's something we have to communicate on, but that's between us. It's part of the game."
Norris singled in Cliff Pennington in the fifth inning, and the Red Sox scored their only run in the sixth on Pedroia's RBI single.
Chris Carter homered off Daniel Bard leading off the seventh.
This was the seventh leadoff homer of Crisp's career ... Boston has also lost seven straight to the A's, who hold a 7-1 lead in the season series ... This is Oakland's first eight-game winning streak since June 8-18, 2006 when they won 10 straight.