BOSTON (AP) — Paul Blackburn continued his success on the road by sharply pitching the sixth inning, Christian Bethancourt hit a two-run single and the Oakland Athletics held off the Boston Red Sox 4-3 Thursday for just their second victory in 15 games.
Chad Pinder added an RBI single for Oakland, which closed its nine-game road trip at 2-7 and avoided being swept in a three-game series by Boston for the second time this month.
JD Martinez had three singles and drove in a run for Boston. The Red Sox, who had won 11 of 13, left eight runners in the first four innings and 13 overall.
Boston star Rafael Devers went 0 for 2 with a pair of steps and was hit by a pitch, ending his four-game streak with a home run.
Leading 4-1 in the eighth, Oakland third baseman Jonah Bride made a two-out throwing error that allowed a run to score. Martinez followed with an RBI single that second baseman Tony Kemp stopped with a dive into a shallow cross, preventing the tying run from scoring.
Blackburn (6-2) allowed one run and eight hits, with four strikeouts and two walks in 5 1/3 innings, slightly increasing his road ERA from 0.91 to 1.00. He entered with the lowest ERA of the away majors.
Dany Jiménez got four out for his 11th save.
After scoring just two points in total in the first two games of the series, the Athletics took a 3-0 advantage in the third against Rich Hill (2-4), enjoying a double gift when the player of second baseman Trevor Story appeared to call for Cristian Pache’s unique pop in a shallow cross, but he dropped it behind him.
Pache scored on Pinder’s single. Bethancourt lined up his two-run hit on the left field line after Ramón Laureano’s brace.
Hill allowed four runs, three earned, in 5 2/3 innings.
Southpaw Chris Sale threw 32 pitches in a two-inning mock game off the Fenway Park mound in the morning. Manager Alex Cora has been impressed with a radical change, a pitch the 33-year-old has worked on during the offseason.
Sale has been sidelined since spring training after suffering a broken rib cage.
Cora said “a lot” of guys were heading to TD Garden on Thursday night to watch the Boston Celtics play Golden State in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. He also said Cardinals star Albert Pujols organized a luxury box for the St. Louis players. The Cardinals play at Fenway this weekend.
TWO GOOD, ONE BAD
Red Sox 3B Devers dunked into Sean Murphy’s liner to open the sixth and followed by going behind the sack to catch Matt Davidson’s grounder before firing to first base. But he also got Elvis Andrus’ two-out grounder in his legs for a scoring error.
Athletics: RF Stephen Piscotty (sprained left calf) has returned to baseball activities.
Red Sox: Devers was hit in the right elbow by a fastball from AJ Puk but stayed in the game. … OF/INF Kiké Hernández, on the disabled list with a right hip flexor, was in the box for Sale’s play-in play but didn’t swing the bat. Cora said he was getting closer to a rehab mission.
Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas (3-6, 3.40 ERA) is set to start Friday night against Kansas City in Game 1 of a six-game homestand.
Red Sox: RHP Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.33) is set to face his former team when Boston opens a three-game series against St. Louis on Friday at Fenway. Wacha, 30, spent his first seven seasons with the Cardinals, including 2013 when they lost the World Series to Boston. RHP Adam Wainwright (5-4, 2.84) is in line for St. Louis.
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