BOSTON – Carl Crawford has struggled all season against left-handers. And when it comes to driving in runs, he’s been much better on the road.

With one pitch, that all changed.

Crawford blooped a go-ahead, two-run single to center field in the seventh inning off Brian Fuentes, and the Boston Red Sox ended a four-game losing streak Friday night with an 8-6 victory against the Oakland Athletics.

“You’ve got the bases loaded with two outs” and a full count, Crawford said. “You know he can’t really play around too much right there. You know at some point he has to throw you a pitch where you can hit.”

It actually was a tough pitch to hit, inside and close to Crawford’s hands. Still, he managed to send it just beyond second base to give Boston a 7-6 lead.

“We had a chance to bring (Fuentes) in against a lefty that’s been hitting about .100 against lefties,” Oakland Manager Bob Geren said. “It’s unfortunate. He made a good pitch.”

Before his hit, Crawford was batting .103 (7 for 68) against left-handers. Of his 21 RBI before Friday, six were at Fenway Park, although two came on walkoff hits.

“He worked the count really well,” Red Sox Manager Terry Francona said. “By no means did he crush that ball, but he stayed on it enough and it found the outfield grass and made everybody happy.”

Joey Devine (0-1) had loaded the bases in the inning when he allowed a double by Adrian Gonzalez, hit Kevin Youkilis and walked David Ortiz. After retiring Jed Lowrie on a fly ball, Devine was replaced by Fuentes.

“In the sixth with our bullpen with the lead, I like our chances,” Geren said. “We have a good bullpen.”

Boston rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the first and trailed 6-5 until Crawford, who has nine RBI in his last nine games, delivered.

“I was just hoping it got through,” Crawford said. “When I saw that, I was feeling a lot better, just watched it all the way until it dropped.”

Bobby Jenks (2-2) got the win and Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 12 opportunities.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia added a solo home run, his fifth of the year, in the eighth.

The Red Sox ended their longest losing streak since they began the season 0-6. The A’s dropped their fourth straight after winning four straight.

“The type of ball we were playing (early in the season) compared to now is just two different teams,” Jenks said. “Going out of spring training, this is what we were all expecting to start the year. It just showed up a little late but it’s here now.”

The A’s ripped Clay Buchholz for four runs and five hits in the first inning, but the Red Sox came back to take a 5-4 lead in the third. Oakland tied it with a run in the fourth before taking a 6-5 lead on Daric Barton’s RBI single in the fifth.

“It’s good to get runs early,” Josh Willingham of Oakland said, “but you have to give them credit. They came back.”

Tommy Hottovy, a 2004 draft choice who started the season with the Sea Dogs, made his major league debut, retiring the only batter he faced to end the sixth.