Boston's domination of Oakland began with its opening-day win over Tom Candiotti and ended with Candiotti's victory Thursday night.
Candiotti (10-14) won for the fifth time in his last six starts. He began the season with a 2-0 loss to Boston's Pedro Martinez in which the Athletics managed just four hits.
"We won the last one of the season (against the Red Sox) so we get bragging rights," Oakland manager Art Howe joked. "We beat them once at our place and once here, not too much to get excited about."
Candiotti's revival, which has coincided with warmer weather, has been more significant.
"My knuckleball has been so much more consistent and so much better than at the start of the year," he said. "It was muggy and stagnant in the three games we played here. That's always conducive to a good knuckleball."
| Boston's Donnie Sadler holds up the ball after tagging out Oakland's Rickey Henderson, who was ttempting to steal second during the Athletics' 6-3 victory on Thursday. (AP) |
"It seems like the Red Sox have had our number," Oakland's Rickey Henderson said. "We got some runs early and it helped (Candiotti) relax."
Boston, which entered the game a season-high 26 games over .500, had its three-game winning streak snapped. But the Red Sox still lead Texas by 8½ games in the AL wild-card race. Oakland ended its three-game losing streak.
"We played a lot of tough games against that team, a lot of close games," Boston manager Jimy Williams said. "They've always battled us hard."
Candiotti allowed only two singles through the first five innings and retired the first two batters on grounders in the sixth. Then Nomar Garciaparra hit his 27th homer of the season and Troy O'Leary followed with his 21st on consecutive pitches, cutting the lead to 6-2.
Mike Stanley doubled and Darren Bragg singled him to third before Candiotti, who has given up 26 homers in 29 games, ended the inning by striking out Scott Hatteberg.
Candiotti, tied for third in the American League with 14 losses, allowed two runs and six hits, struck out two and walked two before being replaced by T.J. Mathews to start the seventh.
Candiotti has just one loss since July 26, while Pete Schourek dropped to 0-3 in four games with Boston since being obtained from Houston on Aug. 6. Schourek struck out three of Oakland's first four batters but retired just two of the remaining 10 hitters he faced as the Athletics took a 4-0 lead after three innings.
"Usually when you get down to the bottom of the order in the National League, you have one or two guys you can get out," Schourek said. "But that's not the case over here."
Billy Taylor pitched the ninth for his 27th save.
With one out in the second, Mike Blowers doubled, Ben Grieve walked and Scott Spiezio singled in a run for the Athletics.
A.J. Hinch led off the third with a double, took third on Henderson's single and scored on Jason Giambi's single. Matt Stairs doubled home Giambi and Grieve singled in Stairs.
The Athletics scored twice in the fourth off Carlos Reyes. They loaded the bases on a single by Hinch and walks to Henderson and Ryan Christenson. A sacrifice fly by Giambi and a single by Stairs drove in the runs.
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