BOSTON (AP) – Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer to reach 50 RBIs for the season and Carl Crawford had a three-run shot, powering John Lackey and the Boston Red Sox to a 6-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
John Lackey pitched into the sixth inning in his first start in nearly a month as Boston swept the A’s to salvage a split of a six-game homestand that started with three losses to the White Sox.
Matt Albers, Tommy Hottovy and Dan Wheeler combined for 2 1-3 innings of two-hit ball before Daniel Bard worked the ninth for his first save of the season — one day after regular closer Jonathan Papelbon blew a save opportunity and was ejected in the ninth inning of Boston’s 9-8 victory.
Kevin Kouzmanoff homered for the Athletics, who have lost six straight. Brett Anderson (3-6) allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings.
Lackey (3-5), who was coming off a stint on the disabled list with a strained elbow, gave up three runs and three hits. He struck out two, walked two and hit three batters.
Boston now heads to New York for a three-game series with the first-place Yankees starting Tuesday.
The Red Sox got off to a fast start Sunday behind Crawford, who hit his fifth homer after David Ortiz and Jed Lowrie started the second inning with consecutive singles.
Kouzmanoff led off the third with his fourth homer and Daric Barton added a run-scoring single in the fourth, but Boston responded in the bottom half.
Gonzalez’s drive into the Green Monster seats above left field made it 5-2 and gave him 50 RBIs just 59 games into the season. It was the second homer in as many games for the big first baseman, who has 12 for the season after hitting just one in his first month with the Red Sox.
Lackey had some control problems in his first start since May 11. His last hit batter was Conor Jackson, who stole second and scored when Barton doubled off Albers to get Oakland within two in the fifth.
Fautino De Los Santos, who struck out the only batter he faced in his major league debut on Saturday, had a more difficult time in his second appearance. Jacoby Ellsbury singled off De Los Santos with one out in the sixth, then advanced on two wild pitches and scored on Dustin Pedroia’s single to left.
That put Boston up 6-3 and the bullpen held it, something it failed to do the day before when the Red Sox blew a 7-3 lead in the ninth and needed 14 innings to win.
NOTES: Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before the game that Clay Buchholz has been pushed back in the rotation in order to give his back some more rest. Tim Wakefield with take Buchholz’s spot on Wednesday against the Yankees and Buchholz will start Friday at Toronto. … Oakland manager Bob Geren gave slumping DH Hideki Matsui the day off. Matsui broke a career-worst 0-for-19 slump with an 11th-inning single Saturday. … The Red Sox last swept the A’s in August 2008.
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