BOSTON — Will Middlebrooks took off right away, hoping his hustle would put the Boston Red Sox in position to tie it.
The Oakland Athletics had other ideas.
Middlebrooks was thrown out at third base trying to advance on a grounder, and the A’s held off Boston for a 3-2 win in 10 innings Sunday.
“Opportunities were there. They made a couple of key pitches,” Boston Manager John Farrell said.
In a game of good pitching, the biggest strike was thrown by A’s first baseman Daric Barton. He fielded Jackie Bradley Jr.’s groundball and threw across the diamond to get Middlebrooks.
Dustin Pedroia then grounded into a double play, quickly ending the inning that started with promise when Middlebrooks led off with a single and advanced to second on center fielder Coco Crisp’s error.
“I was breaking off the bat. I didn’t know it was to his right, to his left or right at him. Unfortunately it was right at him,” Middlebrooks said. “This is the big leagues. People are supposed to make plays like that. Normally you don’t see a first baseman that far in, but he made a good play. Hats off to him.”
A.J. Pierzynski hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who with a win would have reached .500 for the first time since the fourth game of the season.
Oakland took the lead in the 10th. Jed Lowrie hit a two-out double off Chris Capuano (1-1), and after the bases were loaded with a pair of walks – the first intentional – Yoenis Cespedes beat out a slow roller to third against reliever Burke Badenhop.
Oakland closer Jim Johnson (3-2) got a double-play grounder by Jonny Gomes to end the ninth and worked the 10th for the win.
“This was a day in which we tried to manufacture a run to either tie it up or give us a one-run lead,” Farrell said.
With the Red Sox trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Pierzynski homered into Boston’s bullpen.
Boston starter John Lackey gave up two runs on five hits in six innings, walking three and striking out four.
Oakland’s Sonny Gray also pitched six, giving up two runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Cespedes gave Oakland a 2-1 edge in the sixth with an RBI double off the Green Monster. The Athletics grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on Brandon Moss’ two-out RBI single.
Grady Sizemore’s RBI double tied it in the fifth, but Gray escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam when Bradley bounced into a 1-2-3 double play.
In the third, Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts’ relay from shallow left cut down Josh Donaldson trying to score. Crew chief Jeff Kellogg requested a replay review to see if catcher Pierzynski was illegally blocking the plate. The play was upheld.
NOTES: Boston DH David Ortiz played in his 1,999th career game. … The Red Sox are off Monday before beginning a two-game series at home Tuesday against Cincinnati. LHP Felix Doubront (1-3, 5.70) goes against the Reds’ Homer Bailey (2-2, 5.50). … Sizemore went 2 for 2 before being pinch hit for, raising his career average against the A’s to .321 (59 of 184), his best against any AL team. … The Red Sox held a pregame birthday party on the field for Wally, their mascot. Mr. Met (New York Mets), the Oriole Bird (Baltimore) and Blades (Boston Bruins) were three of a handful of mascots on hand.