OAKLAND -- Their bats silenced to the tune of three hits, and their defense unsteady with two errors, the A's fell to Boston 4-2 in the opener of a three-game series at the Coliseum Friday night.
It is the first time since June 22 and 23 the A's have lost consecutive games, when they dropped two straight to Seattle.
The A's fell behind 2-0 on some uncharacteristic defensive miscues in the second inning, when third baseman Josh Donaldson threw away a ball and catcher John Jaso followed suit trying to get Brock Holt from advancing to second on Yoenis Cespedes' errant throw to the plate.
But Oakland tied the game off Red Sox starter John Lackey at 2-2 with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings before Boston added two on Dustin Pedroia's two-out single in the eighth.
Texas lost earlier in the day to Detroit, so the A's (54-39) maintained a one-game lead in the American League West. The Red Sox improved their American League-best record to 58-37.
Starting pitching report
Jarrod Parker did not figure in the decision after allowing two runs in seven innings, the 11th time in his last 12 outings he's gone at least six.
He did not walk a batter for the second time this season, the other time being when he departed with a right hamstring issue on June 29 after 3 2/3 innings, and Parker struck out three while throwing 93 pitches, 59 strikes. He retired the last 16 batters he faced and, according to A's radio broadcaster Vince Cotroneo, Parker did it in 50 pitches.
Sean Doolittle (3-3) took the loss after giving up a leadoff single in the eighth to Jose Iglesias, a sac bunt to Brock Holt, a 4-3 ground out to Jacoby Ellsbury and hitting the first batter of his career in Shane Victorino.
Ryan Cook relieved Doolittle and, after allowing Victorino to steal second, gave up the two-out, two-run single to Dustin Pedroia. Jesse Chavez threw a scoreless, if eventful, ninth inning, in which the Red Sox had runners at first and third with one out.
At the plate
Entering the ninth inning, the A's had just three hits, an RBI single by John Jaso, a double by Seth Smith and a towering solo homer by Jed Lowrie. It was Lowrie's seventh home run of the season, his sixth from the left side. The A's stranded six base runners.
In the field
Somebody call the Oakland Police Department, because Josh Donaldson got robbed, by the Pride of Woodland. Boston second baseman Pedroia snagged Donaldson's absolute rocket with one out and runners at first and third in the fifth.
Instead of watching a run-scoring single, Pedroia gloved the ball while lying on his side and started an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. A stunned Donaldson did not even make it to first base as he shook his head in disbelief.
Brandon Moss also had a pretty play on Jose Iglesias' one-out bunt, cutting down pinch-runner Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate in the eighth.
The A's announced a crowd of 27,084 at O.co Coliseum, and most came to see the first-place A's, rather than the Red Sox.
Tweet of the game
HR Derby ain't ready -- @foursixthreeDP, on Home Run Derby participant Yoenis Cespedes hitting the window on a suite overlooking center field during batting practice.
A.J. Griffin (7-6, 3.94 ERA) has faced the Red Sox three times in his career, going 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA. He was on the losing end of a 9-6 game at Fenway Park on April 22, when he gave up nine runs, seven earned, in four innings. Boston left-hander Jon Lester (8-5, 4.60) beat the A's on April 24 and, in 11 career starts against Oakland, he is 4-3 with a 4.21 ERA.