OAKLAND, Calif. — Matt Watson hit his first career homer and Jack Cust added a two-run shot that helped the Oakland Athletics win their third straight series with a 6-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.
Gio Gonzalez (9-6) pitched six innings and Rajai Davis hit a two-run single for the A’s, who have won seven of eight to move above .500 for the first time since June 11.
Adrian Beltre hit his second homer of the series and drove in three runs for the Red Sox, who are 2-5 since the All-Star break and seven games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.
Clay Buchholz (10-5) was not sharp in his first start for Boston since injuring left hamstring running bases in San Francisco on June 26. He gave up a pair of early homers and was unable to record a single out in the fifth. He allowed five runs and six hits to lose for just the second time in his last 10 starts.
Gonzalez allowed RBI singles to Beltre in the first and Jed Lowrie in the fifth before running into more serious trouble in the sixth inning. Kevin Youkilis led off the frame with a single and Beltre followed with his 16th homer.
J.D. Drew then singled, leading to a mound visit from pitching coach Curt Young. Oakland’s defense then bailed out Gonzalez with Davis making a running grab in the gap in right-center to rob Mike Cameron of extra bases. Bill Hall then hit a grounder up the middle that second baseman Mark Ellis tracked down to start a slick double play to end the inning.
That ended the day for Gonzalez, who allowed four runs and seven hits while improving to 14-1 in his career when given three or more runs of support.
Henry Rodriguez pitched around a pair of walks in the seventh with a fastball that reached triple digits on the stadium radar gun. Brad Ziegler got three outs and Michael Wuertz had a perfect ninth for his second save.
Buchholz escaped trouble in the first when he got Kevin Kouzmanoff to bounce into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. But then Buchholz gave up homers in consecutive innings to the power-challenged A’s after allowing just three all season coming into the start.
Watson connected in the second for a solo shot that came nearly seven years after he made his major league debut for the New York Mets. Cust added a two-run shot in the third.
In between the two long balls, there were a couple of oddities that didn’t affect the score. After Watson’s homer, Davis reached on an error when Youkilis dropped a throw from Beltre following a bunt toward third. Davis advanced to second on a balk and third on a wild pitch before being thrown out at home on a grounder to second because of a perfect block by catcher Dusty Brown.
Then with a man on first in the third inning, Kurt Suzuki hit an infield popup that Beltre dropped. But there was no damage as Beltre easily got the force at second base. Cust followed with his sixth homer to make it 3-1.
NOTES: Six of the nine Oakland starters had never faced Buchholz and no one had more than three ABs against him. … The A’s dropped Coco Crisp from leadoff to ninth in the lineup because he came into the game in a 2-for-27 slump. He went 2-for-4. … Lowrie made his 2010 debut for Boston after being sidelined since the spring with mononucleosis.