BOSTON (AP) - Nothing like the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox to take the shine off a four-game winning streak.
Just ask the Oakland Athletics.
The A's had a four-game winning streak when the Yankees visited last week. After being swept at home, Oakland limped to Boston and were swept again in a three-game series, finishing with a 6-3 loss Sunday.
``We ran into a couple of good teams and they beat us up pretty good,' second baseman Mark Ellis said. ``I feel like we can compete. We just need to find a way to do it.'
Oakland starter Brett Anderson (3-6) struggled for the second straight game, allowing five runs and nine hits in five innings. He gave up nine earned runs over 5 1-3 innings in his previous start, a 10-3 loss to New York on Tuesday.
``Today was pretty much terrible. It's pretty much as bad a job as I can do,' Anderson said. ``It was really frustrating. You want to go as deep as you can to give your guys some rest. Obviously, I didn't do that.'
The Red Sox got off to a fast start behind Carl Crawford, who hit his fifth homer after David Ortiz and Jed Lowrie started the second inning with consecutive singles.
Kevin Kouzmanoff led off the third with his fourth homer and Daric Barton added a run-scoring single in the fourth, but Boston responded in the bottom half.
Adrian Gonzalez's drive into the Green Monster seats above left field made it 5-2 and gave him 50 RBIs just 59 games into the season. It was the second homer in as many games for the big first baseman, who has 12 for the season after hitting just one in his first month with the Red Sox.
``He just hasn't been as crisp and sharp with his pitches,' Athletics manager Bob Geren said of Anderson.
John Lackey pitched into the sixth inning in his first start in nearly a month for Boston, who swept the A's to salvage a split of a six-game homestand that started with three losses to the White Sox.
Lackey (3-5), who was coming off a stint on the disabled list with a strained elbow, gave up three runs and three hits. In his first start since May 11, he struck out two, walked two and hit three batters.
Oakland's Fautino De Los Santos, who struck out the only batter he faced in his major league debut on Saturday, had a more difficult time in his second appearance. Jacoby Ellsbury singled off De Los Santos with one out in the sixth, then advanced on two wild pitches and scored on Dustin Pedroia's single to left.
That put Boston up 6-3 and the bullpen held it, something it failed to do the day before when the Red Sox blew a 7-3 lead in the ninth and needed 14 innings to win.
Matt Albers, Tommy Hottovy and Dan Wheeler combined for 2 1-3 innings of two-hit ball before Daniel Bard worked the ninth for his first save of the season - one day after regular closer Jonathan Papelbon blew a save opportunity and was ejected in the ninth inning of Boston's 9-8 victory.
Boston now heads to New York for a three-game series with the first-place Yankees starting Tuesday. The Athletics' road trip continues against the Orioles - the last team they beat.
``We just gotta get it going tomorrow,' Geren said. ``Can't look back.'
NOTES: Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before the game that Clay Buchholz has been pushed back in the rotation in order to give his back some more rest. Tim Wakefield with take Buchholz's spot on Wednesday against the Yankees and Buchholz will start Friday at Toronto. ... Geren gave slumping DH Hideki Matsui the day off. Matsui broke a career-worst 0-for-19 slump with an 11th-inning single Saturday. ... The Red Sox last swept the A's in August 2008.
The Associated Press News Service
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