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A’s Comeback To Beat Sox In 9th

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OAKLAND, CA - JULY 03: The Oakland Athletics bench celebrates as they watch the sacrifce fly hit by Coco Crisp #4 of the Oakland Athletics that scored Cliff Pennington #2 to beat the Boston Red Sox in the ninth inning at O.co Coliseum on July 3, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

OAKLAND, CA – JULY 03: The Oakland Athletics bench celebrates as they watch the sacrifce fly hit by Coco Crisp #4 of the Oakland Athletics that scored Cliff Pennington #2 to beat the Boston Red Sox in the ninth inning at O.co Coliseum on July 3, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Baseball Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Coco Crisp can’t recall a game when he
has started the scoring in the first and ended it in the ninth.

Crisp hit a game-winning sacrifice fly to go with his leadoff
homer in the first, and the Oakland Athletics rallied to beat the
Boston Red Sox 3-2 on Tuesday night.

“It’s nice,” Crisp said. “I don’t have that many home runs.
I’m not Manny (Ramirez). So, really, there aren’t that many
opportunities.”

The A’s got singles from Chris Carter and Cliff Pennington
before pinch-hitter Brandon Moss’ tying single against Alfredo
Aceves (0-6). Then Crisp delivered his third career walkoff RBI and
Oakland’s first game-ending sacrifice fly since Dan Johnson had one
May 15, 2007, against Kansas City.

“He’s the guy you want up in those situations,” manager Bob
Melvin said. “Every time he comes to the plate, we have a good
feeling.”

Jerry Blevins (2-0) worked 1 2-3 innings for the victory. The
Red Sox squandered a scoring chance in the top of the ninth with
two base running blunders, including Ryan Kalish’s caught stealing
trying for third.

Jon Lester pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning but had
nothing to show for it.

“We’re sputtering a little bit. We’re not stringing hits
together,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “We will tomorrow.”

Lester matched his season high with nine strikeouts, allowing
Crisp’s leadoff homer in the first before finding his groove. The
left-hander allowed only that run and three more hits in his
impressive 107-pitch day.

Crisp’s homer on the third pitch of the night from Lester gave
the A’s longballs in 14 straight games. The 14 straight games with
a home run is the longest streak since the 2004 team did so from
April 27-May 12. Oakland went 17 consecutive games with a homer
from April 12-May 1, 2002.

Crisp’s shot stayed just fair of the left-field foul pole for
his sixth career leadoff home run and second this year. He also had
one last Wednesday at Seattle.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia tied it with his two-out solo drive in the
second. The Red Sox went ahead in the fourth when Oakland first
baseman Carter tried to backhand Saltalamacchia’s grounder and it
bounced off his body for an error, allowing David Ortiz to score
from third.

Lester allowed Jonny Gomes’ two-out single in the first then
retired the next 12 Oakland batters in order before Kurt Suzuki’s
single with two out in the fifth. Lester sure looked sharp despite
his 4.53 ERA coming in against the A’s that was his fourth-worst
mark against an American League opponent.

The A’s put runners on second and third with one out in the
eighth against Vicente Padilla to bring up top hitter Josh Reddick,
who was intentionally walked to load the bases as fans booed.
Yoenis Cespedes and Gomes each struck out swinging, and Padilla
pumped his fist as he hopped off the mound.

But Boston couldn’t hold it _ or add on. Along with the caught
stealing, Nick Punto popped into a double play in the ninth trying
to bunt. Carter made a lunging catch on the play.

“Chris Carter made a heck of a catch to dim that rally and give
us some momentum,” Crisp said.

Punto took responsibility.

“I didn’t get the bunt down,” he said. “It’s simple
fundamentals. I can’t make those mistakes.”

Bartolo Colon came off the disabled list to pitch for the first
time since lasting only two innings June 17 against San Diego
because of a strained right oblique muscle.

Colon allowed two runs _ one earned _ and five hits in six
innings, struck out three and walked one. Bob Melvin kept Colon on
a shorter leash than usual as a precaution while he works his way
back to full strength from the injury. Still, the right-hander
threw 87 pitches, 55 for strikes.

The game stopped briefly in the bottom of the third when home
plate umpire Brian O’Nora received drops in his left eye from
Oakland assistant athletic trainer Walt Horn.

Notes: The Red Sox changed Wednesday starter to Aaron Cook
(2-1). … Boston placed RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 15-day
disabled list with a stiff neck, a day after he allowed five runs
in one-plus inning and failed to retire a batter in the second
inning. … The Red Sox recalled INF Mauro Gomez from Triple-A
Pawtucket for a second big league stint this season. … The DL
remains a possibility for Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks (left
hamstring). Middlebrooks was able to touch his toes Monday without
any spasm or grabbing, which Valentine called “one of those
hamstring telltale signs.” … Boston reached a contract
termination settlement with pitcher Bobby Jenks and granted his
unconditional release. … The A’s designated for assignment LHP
Brian Fuentes, the demoted closer, to clear room for Colon’s
return. … A’s starter Brandon McCarthy’s auction and autograph
session _ with hard work from wife, Amanda _ to help the Colorado
wildfire victims raised $10,066. … The game drew a sellout crowd
of 35,067.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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