BOSTON (AP) - It started out as a promising weekend series for the Oakland Athletics. Then it was washed away on a day filled with rain delays and a sudden drought of offense.
A nearly 11-hour day ended for the Athletics when Cliff Pennington lined out to center, closing a 4-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox in the second game of a doubleheader sweep.
``Pretty much a miserable day,' Oakland third baseman Scott Sizemore said. ``The weather, the field conditions, everything.'
Coming into Boston averaging nine runs per game over its previous four, Oakland's offense was mostly shut down by the Red Sox after a 15-5 win on Friday night.
``Based on the way we've been swinging the bats lately, really well,' Athletics manager Bob Melvin said of how Boston's pitching looked against his team. ``We just couldn't do anything all day, all night.'
David Ortiz hit a two-run homer and four Boston pitchers combined on a three-hitter in the second game.
In the opener, Jason Varitek hit a two-run homer, Jon Lester allowed three hits in six innings and the Red Sox won 9-3. That game was delayed twice - 45 minutes after the sixth inning and 2 hours, 15 minutes after the seventh.
The highlight of the day for Oakland was a long out, ending the first game. Coco Crisp flied to the warning track in the deepest part of Fenway Park's right field with the bases loaded after scoring a run on three hits and a walk. It was the only time all day they had a multi-hit inning.
``Long day. Long tough day for us,' Melvin said. ``It's a lot easier to move on from these days when you win a game or two.'
There was a one-hour delay in the top of the fifth in the nightcap. The first game had been moved up to noon from 1:10 p.m. to make room for the second game that was rescheduled from Sunday to avoid Hurricane Irene's effects.
Erik Bedard allowed two singles in four innings in Game 2 before being replaced by Alfredo Aceves (9-1) when play resumed. He pitched three hitless innings. Daniel Bard allowed a single in the eighth before Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth.
Ortiz went 5 for 8, driving in four runs and scoring three in the doubleheader.
The Red Sox, 8-3 in their last 11 games, increased their AL East lead to two games over the New York Yankees, who had a doubleheader at Baltimore rained out.
Fans with tickets for the scheduled 5:05 p.m. start were allowed through the turnstiles during the second delay in the opener. The game ended at 6:08 p.m.
At night, the Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second against Graham Godfrey (1-2) when Dustin Pedroia doubled and Ortiz hit his 27th homer. They made it 3-0 in the fourth on consecutive singles by Pedroia, Ortiz and Jed Lowrie and an RBI groundout by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
They scored their final run in the sixth off Josh Outman. With one out, Lowrie reached second on a two-base throwing error by Sizemore. After Carl Crawford flied out, Saltalamacchia hit a popup to short right field. First baseman Brandon Allen ran back but, as he looked up into the rain, the ball bounced off his glove and he fell. Saltalamacchia was credited with an RBI double.
Bedard walked just five batters in his other four games with Boston but walked four of the first seven Boston hitters. His last batter, Anthony Recker, singled for his first major league hit before play was halted in the fifth.
In the opener Lester (14-6) allowed two runs, one of them earned, walked two and fanned four, improving to 7-0 with a 1.54 ERA in nine afternoon starts.
Lester started under bright skies but heavy rain fell on and off during the middle innings before play was halted the first time as he prepared to take the mound in the seventh.
``The conditions were really bad. The mound wasn't bad, but anytime you took the ball out of your glove it was wet,' he said. ``I had no grip. I was trying to tell the umpires that. Maybe the second time it went to the backstop made them realize it wasn't safe.'
Ortiz added a pair of doubles and drove in two runs and Mike Aviles collected three singles for Boston.
Allen hit a solo homer for Athletics.
The second delay of the opener came after Varitek bounced weakly to the mound, ending the seventh.
The Red Sox scored three runs in the second and third innings against Guillermo Moscoso (6-8) to open a 7-2 lead. After Moscoso retired the first two batters in the second, Josh Reddick walked before Varitek homered. Jacoby Ellsbury added an RBI double.
NOTES: Adrian Gonzalez's third-inning double in the opener gave him a career-high 183 hits. ... Francona said RHP Clay Buchholz, a key part of the rotation who has been on the DL since June 17 with a strained lower back, will be re-examined in ``the next couple of days. But even if the examination is good, he's not allowed to throw until (Sept. 1).' ... Oakland stole its first three bases in the opener (two by Jemile Weeks, one by Pennington) without even a throw by catcher Varitek. ... The A's recalled Godfrey from Sacramento in between games and sent pitcher Jerry Blevins to the Triple-A team . ... After an off-day Monday, the Red Sox will send John Lackey (12-9) to the mound in Tuesday night's opener of a three-game series against the Yankees at Fenway. Oakland resumes play Monday with Brandon McCarthy (7-6) facing David Huff (1-2) in Cleveland.
The Associated Press News Service
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