Melvin: 'Griffin was lobbying for the ninth'
Derek Norris is congratulated by hitting coach Chili Davis after hitting a solo home run against the Red Sox in the fifth inning. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- A scoreless duel turned into a game of hunt and peck for the A's, who scored single runs in three consecutive innings Saturday night to beat Boston, 3-0, and even the series at a game apiece.
The A's scored in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings and starter A.J. Griffin and closer Grant Balfour kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard.
While Texas beat Detroit, the A's (55-39) maintained their one-game lead in the American League West over the Rangers and will at least be tied for first at the All-Star break. Boston's American League-best record fell to 58-38.
Starting pitching report
A.J. Griffin was not dominant, but he dominated…so to speak. After walking a tightrope early and often -- the Red Sox stranded seven runners through six innings -- the right-hander set down seven straight batters to end his evening. Griffin (8-6) threw eight shutout innings while giving up six hits, walking one and striking out three in a career high-tying 110 pitches, 74 strikes. It was the eighth time he pitched at least seven innings, the third time he went at least eight.
Sean Doolittle warmed up in the seventh, but did not enter, and Grant Balfour worked a scoreless ninth inning for his franchise-record 43rd consecutive save, dating to April of 2012, his 25th of the season. Surely he gets an All-Star replacement call Sunday, no?
At the plate
Derek Norris broke the scoreless tie with his two-out solo home run off Jon Lester in the fifth. It was Norris' fifth homer of the season and came on an 0-and-2, 91-mph offering. The A's took a 2-0 lead in the sixth when Yoenis Cespedes singled to left to drive in Jed Lowrie from second. It was Cespedes' first run batted in of July. Coco Crisp gave the A's the 3-0 lead with a one-out single to right on the first pitch he saw from reliever Junishi Tazawa, a forkball, to drive in Josh Reddick in the seventh.
In the field
Rookie second baseman Grant Green saw both ends of the spectrum in his third career start. In the second-inning, he pulled off a snazzy, unassisted inning-ending double play, taking Jose Iglesias' hot grounder and stepping on second base to force out Jarrod Saltalamacchia before throwing to first to get Iglesias. Then, in the sixth, and playing shallow right field in the shift with David Ortiz at the plate, Green fumbled Ortiz's hard-hit grounder. Then Green rushed his throw to first, pulling Nate Freiman off the bag for an error, Green's second error in three games.
The A's announced a crowd of 36,067 at O.co Coliseum, their ninth sellout of the season. The A's have gone over 1 million in attendance -- in their 44th home game -- and have a home total of 1,012,998 thus far. They are averaging 23,022 and averaged 20,728 last season.
Tweet o' da game
that's great, can you tell him he's supposed to be hitting above .219. -- @RicSalguero, on Yoenis Cespedes hitting a batting practice pitch into the 'O' hanging over the left-field fence.
Bartolo Colon (12-3, 2.69 ERA) is scheduled to make the start for the A's in their final pre-All Star Break game, which would make him ineligible to pitch in Tuesday's Midsummer Classic. The right-hander has faced the Red Sox 27 times in his career, with 26 starts, and is 9-11 with a 3.82 ERA against them. Colon, who will be making his 400th career appearance, threw a rain-shortened three-hit shutout in seven innings at Boston on April 23. Right hander Brandon Workman (0-0, 13.50) will be making his first career start and second career appearance.