|Oakland (27-23) «||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||x||3||9||0|
A few hours later, Duchscherer nearly did it.
"I said, 'Those guys don't want none of me today 'cuz I'm going to pull a Lester on 'em," Duchscherer recalled with a grin. "In the sixth inning, I was thinking, 'Did I really say that before the game?"'
Duchscherer (4-3) -- who received some of his early professional pitching training in the Red Sox farm system -- outdueled Josh Beckett and had a perfect game going into the sixth before he plunked Jason Varitek to start the inning. David Ortiz broke up the no-hit bid with a single up the middle with one out in the seventh and Duchscherer said he was "a little deflated."
Duchscherer struck out four and didn't issue a walk in eight innings, allowing just that one hit. Huston Street finished the team's second shutout of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances.
Duchscherer campaigned to stay in the game, but manager Bob Geren turned to Street with Duchscherer at 101 pitches.
"You always hope to finish it out," said Duchscherer, who took a no-hitter through 8 2/3 in Double-A. "Every time you go out there and want to go 9. I fought with him a little bit. That's Bob decision. I'm not going to argue."
The 2-hour, 17-minute game was the fastest for Boston this year.
The 30-year-old Duchscherer lost his previous two outings and had all of three career starts in the big leagues coming into this season, then spent a stint on the disabled list with a strained biceps muscle.
Duchscherer's gem came one day before Lester takes the mound for his first start since pitching the majors' first no-hitter of 2008 on Monday over Kansas City. Boston was blanked for the third time.
"He commanded every pitch he threw tonight," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "His command was phenomenal. He did not throw one pitch without a purpose. He kept us off balance. Other than David's hit and his line drive and Youk's (Kevin Youkilis') line drive, we couldn't do anything."
Beckett (5-4) wasn't bad himself. The righty, trying to win consecutive starts for the second time this year, struck out nine for the second straight start to match his second-highest amount this year. He allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings and didn't walk a batter for the second time in 2008, throwing 76 strikes among his 107 pitches.
"It was unfortunate someone had to lose it," Beckett said. "We don't have many games like this period. For what this offense does on a consistent basis, no one has a right to complain about run support."
The A's snapped Boston's seven-game winning streak with an 8-3 win in the series opener Friday, then took the middle game for their third straight victory to capture a series for the first time since sweeping the Baltimore Orioles at home from May 5-7.
Duchscherer was efficient, regularly threw his curveball for strike one, had his fastball working and commanded the zone with all of his pitches.
After Varitek was hit to reach base for Boston, Coco Crisp tried to bunt for a hit but the ball rolled just foul down the first-base line before he later struck out. Duchscherer got through six innings on 78 pitches.
"He was incredible," teammate Mark Ellis said. "He can throw the ball wherever he wants to throw it."
After Beckett allowed Mike Sweeney's leadoff double in the second, Emil Brown's RBI groundout gave the A's a 1-0 lead. Ellis followed with a single and Beckett then retired the next 11 Oakland hitters before Bobby Crosby's single leading off the sixth.
"When you have such a potent offense in the dugout over there, it makes it all the more special to have that kind of performance against the Red Sox," Geren said.
Slumping Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez got the night off, a mental break of sorts. He is slated to play in Sunday's series finale. Ramirez has two hits in his past 23 at-bats and is hitting .189 (17-for-90) over his past 24 games.
"He's had a tough stretch," Francona said. "He came in here a little bit ago and said thanks. He's been working. I think this will be really good for him. I can't imagine coming to the ballpark and not wanting to put him in there. Sometimes it's in our best interest."
|Justin Duchscherer allows one hit in eight innings to snap the Red Sox's seven-game win streak. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Boston Red Sox|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.289|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||.295|
|David Ortiz, DH||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.246|
|Kevin Youkilis, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.312|
|Mike Lowell, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.278|
|J.D. Drew, RF||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.283|
|Jason Varitek, C||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.290|
|Coco Crisp, CF||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.287|
|Alex Cora, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.360|
|DP - Varitek-Cora|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Josh Beckett (L,5-4)||7||7||2||2||0||9||1||4.43|
|Pitches-Strikes - Josh Beckett 107-76, Manny Delcarmen 22-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Beckett 5-7, Manny Delcarmen 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Josh Beckett 28, Manny Delcarmen 6|
|Jack Hannahan, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.217|
|Bobby Crosby, SS||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.272|
|Jack Cust, LF||3||0||0||0||0||3||1||.252|
|Rajai Davis, CF||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.200|
|Frank Thomas, DH||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.248|
|Gregorio Petit, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|Mike Sweeney, 1B||4||1||2||1||0||0||1||.309|
|Ryan Sweeney, CF-RF||3||1||1||1||0||1||2||.295|
|Emil Brown, RF-LF||4||0||0||1||0||0||2||.249|
|Mark Ellis, 2B||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.244|
|Kurt Suzuki, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||2||.241|
|2B - Mike Sweeney (7, Beckett)|
|HR - Ryan Sweeney (2, Beckett)|
|SH - Ryan Sweeney (2)|
|RBI - Mike Sweeney (11), Ryan Sweeney (22), Emil Brown (36)|
|SB - Rajai Davis (8, 2nd base off Delcarmen/Varitek)|
|CS - Bobby Crosby (3, 2nd base by Beckett/Varitek)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Justin Duchscherer (W,4-3)||8||1||0||0||0||4||0||2.16|
|Huston Street (S,10)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||4.03|
|HBP - Varitek (by Justin Duchscherer)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Justin Duchscherer 101-67, Huston Street 14-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Duchscherer 4-16, Huston Street 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Justin Duchscherer 26, Huston Street 3|
|Attendance - 33468|
|Game Time - 2:17|
|Temperature - 56|
|Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Tim Tschida|