Boston at Oakland

Scoreboard
Boston (58-38)000000000070
Oakland (55-39) «00001110x381

A's blank Red Sox, maintain one-game lead in AL West

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Every time he found himself in trouble, Athletics pitcher A.J. Griffin tried to channel teammate Bartolo Colon. Having seen Oakland's lone All-Star selection keep his calm all season no matter the circumstances, Griffin simply followed suit.

Even when he lost a chance at a complete game.

Griffin and Grant Balfour combined on a seven-hitter for Griffin's third straight victory and the A's beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0 Saturday night.

Griffin (8-6) wasn't crisp but still went eight scoreless innings to remain unbeaten in his last five starts. The Oakland right-hander pitched with runners on base in each of the first six innings and twice had to work out of two-on, two-out jams.

"I just tried to act like number 40 in situations like that," said Griffin, who walked one and struck out three. "Just not show they have me in a situation or they have the upper hand. That's something I've learned a lot just watching Bartolo pitch."

That was in stark contrast to Griffin's previous start against the Red Sox, when he was shelled for nine runs (seven earned) over four innings on April 22.

He's come a long way since then, particularly since his last loss on June 15. Over Griffin's last five starts, he is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA.

"[He] really made some in-game adjustments, then the command was all of a sudden there," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "He was even lobbying for the ninth, but I wasn't going to have him throw 120-plus pitches."

Griffin got help from the A's defense. Rookie second baseman Grant Green turned an unassisted double play in the second inning after Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked, then shortstop Jed Lowrie made an impressive recovery and throw to get Dustin Pedroia in the eighth after initially bobbling the ball.

Balfour pitched the ninth for his 25th save this season and 43rd consecutive save dating to 2012.

The A's sputtering offense managed only one extra-base hit off Boston starter Jon Lester (8-6) and one reliever, but made them hold up behind Griffin's stellar outing.

Since opening the season 6-0, Lester has gone 2-6 with a 6.27 ERA over his last 11 starts.

"[Lester] just happened to pitch on the wrong day given how effective their guy was," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a number of opportunities. Unfortunately we couldn't get anything going."

Derek Norris homered and Yoenis Cespedes added an RBI single to help the division-leading A's end a two-game losing streak and maintain their one-game lead over Texas in the West. Oakland reached 55 wins before the All-Star break for the first time since 1975.

Shane Victorino singled twice for Boston, which had won four straight.

Norris homered off Lester with two outs in the fifth.

Cespedes, mired in a 6-for-37 slump, singled in Jed Lowrie in the sixth to make it 2-0. It was Cespedes' first RBI this month.

Lester beat the A's on April 24 when he allowed three runs over 5 2-3 innings and looked sharp early. Boston's left-hander allowed only one runner to second until Norris homered, and faced just three over the minimum through five innings.

Coco Crisp's RBI single off reliever Junichi Tazawa in the seventh drove in Josh Reddick for the A's final run.

Notes

  • Colon (12-3) will make his final start for Oakland in the series finale. Detroit manager Jim Leyland, who manages the AL, has said he won't use any pitcher who is used on Sunday.
  • Reddick has reached base safely in 19 consecutive games.
  • Newly acquired Red Sox LHP Matt Thornton arrived in Oakland before the game and was in uniform.
  • Boston RHP Brandon Workman will make his first major league start on Sunday.
  • The crowd of 36,067 marked the A's ninth sellout of the season.
  • Umpire CB Bucknor, who was hit in the side of his facemask by a pitch from Oakland's Jarrod Parker on Friday night, did not suffer a concussion but remains hospitalized for observation. Mike Muchlinski was brought in to replace Bucknor.
 
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A.J. Griffin (8 IP, 0 runs) and the A's reach 55 wins before the break for the first time since 1975. (USATSI)
A.J. Griffin (8 IP, 0 runs) and the A's reach 55 wins before the break for the first time since 1975. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Boston

M. Napoli
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Oakland

A. Griffin
IP 8.0
H 6
ER 0
BB 1
K 3
 

Related Video

Boston Red Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF4000011 .301
Shane Victorino, RF4020001 .290
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4000002 .315
David Ortiz, DH4010000 .322
Mike Napoli, 1B4020023 .260
Daniel Nava, LF4010002 .290
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C3000114 .266
Jose Iglesias, SS4000002 .375
Brock Holt, 3B3010000 .320
Totals3407014  
Batting
2B - Mike Napoli (24, Griffin)
SB - Shane Victorino (11, 2nd base off Griffin/Norris)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Iglesias-Pedroia-Napoli, Iglesias-Pedroia-Napoli-Iglesias-Pedroia-Napoli
Boston Red Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jon Lester (L,8-6) 6.1633341 4.58
Junichi Tazawa 1.2200020 3.02
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 100-63, Junichi Tazawa 31-22
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 3-11, Junichi Tazawa 2-0
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 27, Junichi Tazawa 6
Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Coco Crisp, DH4011020 .264
Jed Lowrie, SS3100112 .299
Josh Donaldson, 3B4010002 .309
Yoenis Cespedes, LF3021100 .224
Nate Freiman, 1B4000014 .258
Chris Young, CF4010012 .190
Josh Reddick, RF3120000 .222
Derek Norris, C2111102 .208
Grant Green, 2B3000011 .000
Totals3038336  
Batting
HR - Derek Norris (5, Lester)
RBI - Coco Crisp (35), Yoenis Cespedes (43), Derek Norris (20)
2-OUT RBI - Derek Norris (14)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Green-Freiman
E - Grant Green (2, Throwing)
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
A.J. Griffin (W,8-6) 8600130 3.68
Grant Balfour (S,25) 1100010 1.67
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Griffin 110-74, Grant Balfour 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Griffin 9-12, Grant Balfour 1-1
Batters Faced - A.J. Griffin 31, Grant Balfour 4
Game Information
Attendance - 36067
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Adam Hamari, First Base - Todd Tichenor, Second Base - Mike Muchlinski, Third Base - Bill Miller