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BOS@OAK: Papi hits an RBI single to plate Bogaerts

OAKLAND -- For the first time in a week, the Red Sox scored three runs on Friday. It was not enough.

Coco Crisp hit a two-out, two-strike single off left-hander Andrew Miller in the bottom of the eighth, driving home Kyle Blanks from second base to give the A's a 4-3 victory.

"Fastball away," Miller said of the pitch to Crisp. "Hindsight, wrong pitch. It was away, it just wasn't down enough. Wish I had thrown a breaking ball or thrown something in. I didn't."

Of Boston's 74 games this season, 27 have been decided by one run. The Sox are 11-16 in those contests, which is the most among American League teams.

"Two strikes, a guy throwing mid-90s and a good breaking ball, you're just battling," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "He wasn't trying to pull the ball. He was trying to let it travel and get a good look at it. Just a great piece of hitting."

The rally was set in motion when Miller hit Blanks and Alberto Callaspo consecutively with one out.

Blanks checked his swing on a breaking ball that hit his foot, but the Red Sox got no help from first-base umpire Quinn Wolcott.

"Just can't afford to hit those guys in that part of the lineup," Miller said.

Miller followed by fanning No. 9 hitter Nick Punto, but Crisp, for the second night in a row, delivered the Red Sox a crushing blow.

On Thursday, the former Red Sox center fielder robbed A.J Pierzynski at the wall to end the game. On Friday, Crisp stroked a base hit to right field to bring in the winning run.

"It's a good team over there," said left fielder Jonny Gomes. "That being said, one run shy again. We're right there, just got to find a way to capitalize and get one more run than them."

Making his first start since going on the disabled list on May 21, Felix Doubront put Boston in an early hole when he gave up a three-run homer to Josh Donaldson in the first.

Doubront held the A's hitless after Donaldson's drive, but he walked four and hit a batter, forcing the Red Sox to remove him at 90 pitches with two outs in the fifth.

Still, Doubront was satisfied with the in-game adjustments he made.

"I think I did good work to [keep] the score like that," he said. "I did throw my curveball [well]. I was able to throw it two times in a row and get the hitter out. Just tried to feel my mechanics again and all of my pitches."

In the second inning, Punto botched a potential inning-ending double play ball, bringing Jackie Bradley Jr. to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. Bradley sat back on a two-strike curveball and stroked it up the middle to score a pair.

David Ortiz snuck a line-drive single through the shift into right field to tie the game at 3 in the third.

From there, though, the bats went back to sleep.

The Red Sox finished 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and were 0-for-5 in RBI spots after the third inning. Over the last seven games, they are 4-for-42 (.095) in those situations.

"It's just another hurdle we'll have to get over," Gomes said. "It's good to see we're getting guys in scoring position. You've got to take the positive out of most of these things. When you've got runners in scoring position, [you're] just a hit away."

In the sixth, Boston put men on first and second with nobody out against A's right-hander Jim Johnson, but they failed to cash in.

Mike Napoli and Pierzynski struck out, and after Gomes walked to load the bases, Stephen Drew grounded to short.

"They're running out guys out of the bullpen that are mid-to-upper 90s, and we had opportunities early on and couldn't cash in," manager John Farrell said.

Boston displayed patience at the plate following a stretch of three games without a walk, drawing five in the first five innings and forcing A's lefty Brad Mills -- who had last pitched in the Majors in 2012 -- to exit after four frames.

Ultimately, though, the Sox's offensive struggles stretched on, as they managed only two hits in the final six innings.

Sean Doolittle pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save.

"I thought overall our bullpen did an outstanding job of coming in and making pitches when needed," Farrell said. "We left a number of people on base, and that's once again the story in this one." Comments