By ANTONIO GONZALEZ
AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Dustin Pedroia hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 4-2 on Friday night in a matchup between the AL’s top teams.
John Lackey (7-6) overcame a season-high four walks in seven innings to carry the AL-leading Red Sox to their fourth straight victory. He allowed two runs and three hits while striking out five. He also hit a batter.
Brock Holt drove in two runs in the second before the A’s rallied.
John Jaso hit an RBI single in the fifth and Jed Lowrie added a tying home run in the seventh for Oakland, which remains two games ahead of Texas in the AL West. Sean Doolittle (3-3) allowed one hit and hit a batter before Ryan Cook gave up Pedroia’s two-out single.
Andrew Bailey, a two-time All-Star closer for the A’s from 2009-2011, tossed a scoreless eighth. Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save this season.
Jarrod Parker overcame a sloppy start to retire his final 16 batters and put the A’s in position to rally. He gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings, striking out three and walking none.
The only runs off Parker came because of two errors and a hit batter in the second inning that also took out plate umpire CB Bucknor and caused a brief delay.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson’s errant throw to first allowed Mike Napoli to advance to second. Then Parker’s pitch _ clocked at 92 mph _ grazed Daniel Nava and hit the right side of Bucknor’s mask.
Bucknor went down on one knee and winced in pain. Second base umpire and crew chief Bill Miller replaced Bucknor behind the plate and the game resumed with three umpires.
Holt’s two-out single gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. He advanced to third on the play when catcher Jaso threw the ball into right-center field trying to nab him at second, but Parker never allowed another baserunner.
The A’s offense finally got going when Seth Smith doubled off the wall in left leading off the fifth for the first hit against Lackey. After Coco Crisp walked, Jaso’s single sliced Boston’s lead to 2-1.
Crisp advanced to third when right fielder Shane Victorino bobbled Jaso’s hit. But second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a spectacular diving stop on Donaldson’s grounder to start an inning-ending double play.
Lowrie sent a 1-0 cutter from Lackey over the wall in right for the tying shot in the sixth inning. It was Lowrie’s seventh home run this season.
Victorino was hit on the right wrist by Doolittle to put runners on first and third in the seventh. After Victorino stole second uncontested, Pedroia singled to left against Cook to put Boston up 4-2.
Mike Napoli tripled for only the second time this season in the ninth. Then first baseman Brandon Moss threw out pinch-runner Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate, but Oakland never got anything going in the bottom of the inning.
NOTES: The Red Sox acquired reliever Matt Thornton and cash from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor league outfielder Brandon Jacob. … Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz (neck strain) threw about 30 pitches in a bullpen session Friday. The rehab assignment he had been scheduled to make Sunday will now just be another bullpen session. Manager John Farrell said Bucholz will throw a simulated game at some point and make just one rehab start instead of the two originally planned. … Brandon Workman, who allowed three earned runs in two innings in his major league debut in Wednesday’s 11-4 win at Seattle, will make his first start in Sunday’s series finale at Oakland, Farrell said. … INF Adam Rosales, who the A’s designated for assignment Monday, cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Sacramento. … Lefty John Lester (8-5, 4.60 ERA) starts for the Red Sox against Oakland’s A.J. Griffin (7-6, 3.94 ERA) on Saturday.