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Red Sox 8, Athletics 6: Carl Crawford Snaps Red Sox' Losing Streak With Clutch Go-Ahead Single

The Red Sox snapped a four-game losing streak, overcoming deficits both early and late to down the Athletics 8-6.

With Clay Buchholz on the mound, the Sox may have been hoping for an easy game against a no-offense Athletics team. But those hopes flew out the window before the first inning was over. After recording the first out on the first pitch, Buchholz struggled to put batters away, allowing the Athletics to put the ball in play and reach base as a result. While he did not receive much help from his defense--Jed Lowrie looked particularly out-of-place on a single up the middle that should have too slow been too slow to get through--and by the time he had racked up three outs, the A's had picked up four runs.

Clay would battle back over the next few innings, though, giving the Sox ample time to battle back. Jacoby Ellsbury got the Sox on the board first, leading off the bottom of the first with a single and rounding the bases to score on an Adrian Gonzalez groundout. Kevin Youkilis followed that up with a double, and then came home on a single from David Ortiz, cutting the Oakland lead in half.

With a big defensive error from third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff allowing the Sox to score another run on a sacrifice fly from Jacoby Ellsbury, the lead was down to just one run. By the end of the next frame, the Sox had taken the lead, with Kevin Youkilis walking, coming around to score on a double from David Ortiz, who was then driven in himself by a Jed Lowrie single which left the score at 5-4, Red Sox on top.

The lead lasted no time at all, unfortunately, thanks to some more mistakes by Clay Buchholz. After Kevin Kouzmanoff singled, Clay misplaced a pickoff attempt to let the Atheltics' third baseman reach second, and then gave up a wild pitch to move him along to third, from which he would score on a ground out, beating a throw home from Adrian Gonzalez, who had just recorded the out at first. Buchholz would be chased with two outs in the fourth, when he allowed Josh Willingham to score on yet another ground ball single.

It would take the Sox three more innings to come back, but they finally did so in the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez got things started with a one-out double off the Green Monster, and Kevin Youkilis took first after being hit by a pitch. David Ortiz drew a walk, and Jed Lowrie flew out, leaving the bases loaded and two outs for Carl Crawford. With left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes getting the call, Crawford worked the count full, taking some pitches well outside for balls, but also jumping back out of the way of some inside strikes. Crawford swung for the first time in the at bat on the sixth pitch, and made some decent contact, but shattered his bat. Luckily for him, there was still enough force in the swing to push the ball up the middle, flaring it just past the dirt behind second base for a two-run single that put the Sox up 7-6.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was not content to leave the Sox with just a one-run lead, blasting a solo shot over the bullpens in the eighth, but neither Daniel Bard nor Jonathan Papelbon would need it. With the pressure on, Bard allowed a lone baserunner on a two-out single, and Papelbon closed out the game on 11 pitches to snap the Red Sox' losing streak.