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A's use long ball to beat Red Sox

The Sports Xchange
May 19. 2017 4:53AM
Oakland Athletics shortstop Chad Pinder celebrates his home run hit with Oakland Athletics third baseman Trevor Plouffe after returning home as Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez looks up at the scoreboard during the fourth inning of Thursday's game at Oakland Coliseum. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

OAKLAND, Calif. — Sonny Gray pitched six strong innings, and Jed Lowrie, Chad Pinder and Khris Davis each homered, lifting the Oakland Athletics to an 8-3 victory against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night at the Oakland Coliseum.

Gray (1-1) allowed three runs on four hits over six innings, striking out eight and walking two in his 100th career major league start. He got his first victory since July 26, 2016, and beat Boston for the first time in four career starts, giving him at least one win against every American League team except Oakland.

Lowrie hit a two-run homer and Davis a solo blast in the first inning while Pinder belted a two-run shot in the fourth for the A’s, who were coming off a 1-5 road trip. Trevor Plouffe went 3-for-4 with two doubles, drove in a run and scored twice.

Mitch Moreland hit a solo home run in the fourth inning for Boston, which was coming off a 5-4, 13-inning victory Wednesday night at St. Louis. Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-4 and scored a run.

Red Sox right-hander Hector Velazquez (0-1) allowed six runs on nine hits, including three home runs, over five innings in his major league debut at the age of 28. Velazquez, whose contract was purchased by Boston from the Mexican League on Feb. 18, was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday. He was 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA in five starts for Pawtucket.

The A’s went 1-5 against Boston last season and were outscored 67-20.

Oakland led 6-3 after four innings and added two runs in the sixth.

The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning off Gray. Mookie Betts lined a leadoff single, moved to third on Pedroia’s infield single and scored on Hanley Ramirez’s single to left with one out. Gray walked Moreland, loading the bases, and Chris Young hit a sacrifice fly.

The A’s answered with three runs in the bottom of the first. Lowrie launched Velazquez’s 3-2 curveball over the center-field fence for a two-run homer with one out, his fifth shot of the season. Davis followed with a blast to right-center for his 12th home run. He crushed a 0-2 changeup, giving Oakland back-to-back homers for the first time this season.

Boston pulled even in the fourth when Moreland led off with a home run to left-center off Gray, his third blast of the year. The home run was Moreland’s 17th all-time against Oakland and 12th at the Coliseum.

The A’s scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to build a 6-3 lead. Ryon Healy lined a leadoff single and scored on a double by Plouffe, who extended his hitting streak to nine games. Pinder followed with a two-run shot into the left-field seats, hitting Velazquez’s first pitch.

NOTES: The Red Sox designated INF/OF Chase d’Arnaud for assignment, opening a spot on the 25-man roster for RHP Hector Velazquez, who was selected from Triple-A Pawtucket and started against the A’s. ... A’s 1B Yonder Alonso (sore left knee) was out of the lineup Thursday and will likely miss at least two games. He was injured Wednesday during an at-bat at Seattle. ... Red Sox rookie OF Andrew Benintendi, who is in an 0-for-26 slump, was not in the starting lineup but is expected to start on Friday night against the A’s.

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