Boston at Oakland

Scoreboard
Boston (31-20)000110100360
Oakland (26-23) «30400100x881

Homers by Big Hurt, Ellis help A's cool off defending champ Red Sox

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- After two long rounds in the cage last week in Atlanta, Frank Thomas told his manager he was starting to feel it at the plate. The Big Hurt did the same thing in his first stint with Oakland two years ago and began hitting home runs regularly.

Thomas hit a two-run homer to stake Rich Harden to an early lead and Mark Ellis added a three-run shot in the Athletics' 8-3 victory Friday night that snapped Boston's seven-game winning streak.

"He said they're starting to come," A's manager Bob Geren said of Thomas. "He knows."

Harden (3-0) didn't allow a hit until Dustin Pedroia's solo homer with one out in the fourth on the way to winning back-to-back starts. The hard-throwing right-hander had five of his eight strikeouts in the first three innings, which he got through on 36 pitches with 24 strikes.

Harden, who spent time on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, has 23 strikeouts in three starts spanning 17 innings this year against the Red Sox. After Pedroia's third homer of the year, Harden walked two batters in the inning but escaped unscathed.

"I felt good early. I wish I could finish as well as I start," Harden said. "Unfortunately I only went six innings tonight."

He was still getting clocked at 95 mph on the radar gun in the sixth and allowed two runs on four hits with three walks. Harden wants to work deeper into games, but knows that will come as he continues to regain his arm strength.

"He's got as good as stuff as anybody in the league," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He gets into some fastball counts and doesn't give you a fastball. We've seen him too much. We don't need to face him every other game. I hope he's not going to come back and pitch Sunday."

Thomas hit the first pitch he saw from Tim Wakefield (3-3) in the third for his seventh home run, then Ellis, returning to the lineup after missing nine games with a strained left hamstring, hit his fourth homer of the year in the third.

Thomas' two RBI gave 1,701 for his career. The Big Hurt homered for the fourth time in four games, which included a two-homer game Tuesday. The latest power surge for the slugger follows a 30-game, 102 at-bat homerless streak -- the second-longest of his 19-year big league career.

Thomas, who turns 40 on Tuesday, has four homers since joining the A's after Toronto released him April 20. He also singled in the third and fifth.

"One man doing well takes the pressure off others," Thomas said. "That's why Billy (Beane) brought me back. This is the time of year I start to feel it. ... I work for it."

Bobby Crosby hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth, doubled and scored a run for Oakland.

Winning this one had to be a boost for the A's, who had lost seven of nine and nine of 12 but ended a three-game losing streak with a win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday. Many players spent their off day Thursday participating in a team golf tournament.

Boston hitting coach Dave Magadan was ejected by plate umpire Tim Tschida in the sixth for arguing during J.D. Drew's at-bat. Leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury had a pair of RBI singles for the Red Sox, who were coming off a 7-0 homestand and trying to win eight in a row for the first time since a 12-game run from June 16-29, 2006.

Drew wanted timeout to apply pine tar to his bat but wasn't allowed and Magadan said something. Umpires were asked Wednesday to enforce speed-up rules.

"It's coming from the league and we know that and we were warned," Francona said. "We all have different opinions. Tim does it as good as anybody in the league. ... What we don't want to do is start getting into arguments over non-baseball, non-calls. That's what I was trying to tell him. He knows. Everybody gets directions from everybody else, that's the way it is."

Wakefield faced the A's for the first time in 2008 and the right-hander gave up two homers in a game for the third time.

"The one I didn't expect was Ellis," Wakefield said. "I think my mechanics are a little off right now. It was a grind."

On paper this looked like Oakland's best shot at victory this weekend against the World Series champs considering the A's will get Josh Beckett on Saturday and then Jon Lester on Sunday in the left-hander's first outing since pitching the majors' first no-hitter.

"We'll certainly be waiting to see how he bounces back," Francona said. "There was a ton of effort expended. How taxing was it? We'll see. Hopefully none, because he stayed in his delivery."

Notes

  • Kevin Youkilis went hitless for only the third time in 19 games.
  • Ellis was 1-for-15 against Boston this year before the homer.
  • Thomas is batting 24-for-72 (.333) over his last 22 games after hitting .157 in his first 19. The Big Hurt is 15-for-53 (.283) with seven homers lifetime vs. Wakefield.
  • Francona said third base coach DeMarlo Hale could rejoin the team Saturday. He has been away from the club the past few days to support his wife, who was undergoing medical tests.
  • A's RHP Kiko Calero, on the 60-day DL recovering from a torn rotator cuff and currently with Triple-A Sacramento, could come off the disabled list next week.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Tim Wakefield takes the loss after giving up eight runs and four walks over five innings.  (AP)
Tim Wakefield takes the loss after giving up eight runs and four walks over five innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Oakland

R. Harden
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 2
BB 3
K 8
Boston

J. Ellsbury
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF4022010 .297
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4111011 .300
David Ortiz, DH2000220 .245
Manny Ramirez, LF4000002 .280
Mike Lowell, 3B3010110 .285
Kevin Youkilis, 1B4000024 .317
J.D. Drew, RF4110022 .289
Julio Lugo, SS4110021 .292
Kevin Cash, C3000012 .314
Totals32363312  
Batting
2B - Mike Lowell (11, Harden), J.D. Drew (7, Harden)
HR - Dustin Pedroia (3, Harden)
RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury 2 (19), Dustin Pedroia (26)
2-OUT RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (8)
CS - Jacoby Ellsbury (2, 2nd base by Devine/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 5
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PB - Kevin Cash (7)
Boston Red Sox
Tim Wakefield (L,3-3) 5888442 5.19
David Aardsma 1000010 3.13
Mike Timlin 2000020 7.07
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Wakefield 99-58, David Aardsma 17-10, Mike Timlin 21-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Wakefield 2-9, David Aardsma 1-1, Mike Timlin 2-2
Batters Faced - Tim Wakefield 27, David Aardsma 3, Mike Timlin 6
Oakland Athletics
Jack Hannahan, 3B4000003 .224
Bobby Crosby, SS3111000 .267
Jack Cust, LF2211211 .258
    Rajai Davis, CF0000000 .186
Frank Thomas, DH4232010 .246
Ryan Sweeney, CF-RF4111012 .294
Emil Brown, RF-LF4000024 .254
Mark Ellis, 2B4113012 .242
Daric Barton, 1B3100110 .213
Kurt Suzuki, C3010100 .240
Totals3188847  
Batting
2B - Bobby Crosby (16, Wakefield), Kurt Suzuki (7, Wakefield)
HR - Frank Thomas (7, Wakefield), Mark Ellis (4, Wakefield)
SF - Bobby Crosby (1)
RBI - Bobby Crosby (25), Jack Cust (18), Frank Thomas 2 (27), Ryan Sweeney (21), Mark Ellis 3 (16)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Ellis 3 (6)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Jack Hannahan (7, Throwing)
Oakland Athletics
Rich Harden (W,3-0) 6422381 2.93
Joey Devine 2210020 1.27
Huston Street 1000020 4.22
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Harden 105-62, Joey Devine 33-21, Huston Street 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Harden 3-7, Joey Devine 1-2, Huston Street 1-0
Batters Faced - Rich Harden 25, Joey Devine 7, Huston Street 3
Game Information
Attendance - 29057
Game Time - 2:27
Temperature - 54
Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Jim Joyce, Second Base - Jeff Nelson, Third Base - Adrian Johnson