OAKLAND, Calif. -- Left-handed reliever Andrew Miller gave up a tiebreaking run in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox suffered a 4-3 loss Friday night to the Oakland Athletics at the O.co Coliseum.
Miller struck out leadoff hitter Brandon Moss, but he hit Kyle Blanks and Alberto Callaspo, putting runners on first and second. After Miller fanned Nick Punto, former Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp lined an RBI single to right, snapping a 3-3 tie.
Welcome back: Left-hander Felix Doubront (left shoulder strain) was activated from the disabled list and made his first start since May 20 against Toronto, getting a no-decision. He gave up three runs on two hits over 4⅔ innings, striking out four and walking four.
Digging deep: Doubront dug himself a 3-0 hole in the first inning, giving up a three-run blast to A's third baseman Josh Donaldson. After Craig Gentry hit a leadoff single, Jed Lowrie grounded what looked to be a double-play ball to second baseman Dustin Pedroia. But Pedroia bobbled the ball and got only the force at second. Doubront walked Yoenis Cespedes, and Donaldson lined an 89 mph fastball to left for his 18th home run of the season.
Quick response: The Red Sox scored twice in the top of the second as Jackie Bradley Jr., who entered the game batting .281 with runners in scoring position, drilled a two-run, bases-loaded single off Brad Mills, who made his A's debut and first start in the major leagues since July 8, 2012, with the Angels.
Give and take: The Red Sox, in search of that elusive big inning, could have scored more runs in the second if Gentry hadn't made a diving catch in right-center of Brock Holt's line drive, then doubled off Stephen Drew at second, ending the inning. Of course the Red Sox might have come away empty if Punto hadn't botched Drew's perfect double-play grounder with one out, flipping the ball low and wide left of second. The Red Sox pulled even with a run in the third when Xander Bogaerts worked a leadoff walk and scored on David Ortiz's one-out single.
Shift buster: Ortiz beat the A's defensive shift for singles in the third and fifth innings, using two different approaches. In the third he hammered a line drive into the teeth of the shift, ripping the ball past a diving Punto to drive in Bogaerts. Then in the fifth with no outs and Pedroia on first, he grounded a single to left through a vacant left side of the infield. What's next, a bunt?
Still streaking: Right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop threw two high-stress but scoreless innings, extending his streak to a career-high 18. He hasn't allowed an earned run for 32⅓ innings, the third-longest such streak in Red Sox history.
Flashing the leather: Holt, who had never played right field professionally at any level before this season, made a diving catch in the sixth inning, robbing Callaspo of likely extra bases off Badenhop, and possibly saving a run. With one out and Blanks on first after a single, Callaspo hit a sinking line drive down the right-field line, but Holt turned on the speed and made the highlight reel play.
Stressful seventh: Badenhop gave up a one-out single to Lowrie, who moved to second on Cespedes' single in the seventh. Donaldson hit a ground ball to Pedroia, but the Red Sox couldn't convert the double play. That was it for Badenhop, who gave way to Miller to face the left-handed hitting Stephen Vogt. Vogt hit a line drive to shallow left, but Jonny Gomes made a running catch.