BOSTON (AP) - The Oakland Athletics showed plenty of life offensively. It just didn't last long enough.
After taking a 4-0 lead seven batters into the game, the Athletics' bats were quieted and their bullpen fell apart for the first time in a while as they dropped an 8-6 decision to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.
``I've been encouraged the way we've been swinging the bats lately, especially in the first inning,' Oakland manager Bob Geren said.
It was just the second time in 13 games this season that Oakland has lost when it scores six runs or more, the other coming in its fourth game of the season at Toronto.
``It's good to get some runs early,' said Athletics left fielder Josh Willingham, who went 3 for 5 with two doubles. ``But you have to give them credit, they came back.'
The Athletics had gone ahead 6-5 in the fifth on Daric Burton's sacrifice fly before Boston answered with two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth. It was the first poor outing by Oakland's bullpen after five solid games.
``In the (fifth) with our bullpen with the lead, I like our chances,' Geren said. ``We have a good bullpen and I like our chances.'
The Athletics' bullpen had allowed just one run over 23 innings before the Red Sox started their go-ahead rally against Joey Devine (0-1), who hadn't given up a run in seven games this season before allowing two on Friday.
``I've already looked at film. Mechanically everything is fine,' he said. ``It's just the approach. Just returning to what I was doing - except for tonight.'
Carl Crawford blooped a go-ahead, two-run single to center field in the seventh off Brian Fuentes after Devine struggled, sending Oakland to its fourth straight loss.
Fuentes came in to face lefty Crawford, who came through with his broken-bat hit just beyond second base.
Devine had loaded the bases on a double by Adrian Gonzalez and then he hit Kevin Youkilis and walked David Ortiz. The Red Sox ended a four-game losing streak with the victory.
Bobby Jenks (2-2) got the win and Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 12 opportunities.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia added a solo homer, his fifth of the year, for the Red Sox in the eighth.
The Red Sox ended their longest losing streak since they began the season 0-6.
Before his hit, Crawford was batting just .103 (7 for 68) against lefties this season. And of his 21 RBIs before Friday, only six were at Fenway Park although two came from walkoff hits.
The A's ripped Buchholz for four runs and five hits in the first, but the Red Sox came back to take a 5-4 lead after the third. Oakland tied it with a run in the fourth before taking a 6-5 lead on Barton's RBI single in the fifth. Barton had two hits and drove in two runs before bouncing into an inning-ending double play against Jenks in the seventh.
``Barton swung the bat great all night, but he got beat on a fastball,' Geren said. ``He hit into the double play. He had a couple of days off and swung the bat good.'
David DeJesus started the first-inning rally with a single, took second on a single by Willingham and scored when Hideki Matsui grounded into a fielder's choice for the second out. Then Buchholz have up three straight hits - a single by Kurt Suzuki that sent Matsui to second, an RBI single by Barton and a two-run single by Mark Ellis.
The Red Sox began chipping away at the 4-0 lead with two runs in the bottom of the first. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single, took second on his 20th stolen base of the season and third on a wild pitch then scored on Gonzalez's groundout. Youkilis followed with a double and scored on Ortiz's single.
Ellsbury's sacrifice fly made it 4-3 in the second and Boston took the lead in the third when Ortiz doubled in one run and Jed Lowrie singled in another off starter Josh Outman. After retiring the next batter, Outman was replaced by Guillermo Moscoso, who pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings.
Oakland tied the score at 5 when Kevin Kouzmanoff singled, took second on a wild pickoff throw by Buchholz and third on a wild pitch before scoring on Coco Crisp's groundout.
Buchholz kept struggling in the fifth. Willingham led off with a double, moved up on a flyout by Matsui and scored on a single by Barton that drove Buchholz from the game.
Notes: The Red Sox transferred RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka from the 15- to the 60-day DL and placed LHP Rich Hill on the 15-day DL. Both are likely to have major surgery on their pitching elbows. ... The Athletics placed RHP Grant Balfour on paternity leave and recalled RHP Fautino De Los Santos from Triple-A Sacramento. ... In his other appearance this season against Oakland, Buchholz allowed one run in 5 1-3 innings in a 5-3 win on April 20. ... Tommy Hottovy, a 2004 draft choice by Boston, made his major league debut, retiring the only batter he faced to end the sixth. ... Fuentes was 0-4 with two saves in his previous seven appearances.
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