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Hot-handed Jackie Bradley Jr. leads Boston Red Sox past Oakland Athletics

By Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange
Hot-handed Jackie Bradley Jr. leads Boston Red Sox past Oakland Athletics
Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

BOSTON - Jackie Bradley Jr. is on another one of his hot streaks.

"Similar in the aspect of hitting the ball hard, feeling comfortable going the other way, pulling the ball if need be and I'm just trying to go up there with a good approach," the Red Sox center fielder said after driving in six runs with a grand slam and a two-run single in Monday night's 14-7 rout of the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a three-game series.

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Last year, from Aug. 9 through Sept. 7, Bradley hit .446 with a 1.441 OPS, leading the majors in six different offensive categories over that span -- and establishing himself as a hitter who just might rival his spectacular glove.

Now, Bradley is on a 15-game hitting streak, hitting .382 with four homers and 17 RBIs and raising his batting average to .303 -- all while hitting at or near the bottom of the Boston lineup.

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"You feel confident," he said. "You want to swing it more. It's one of those things that you want to keep it going as long as possible."

David Ortiz stroked two doubles and Bradley had a two-run single in a six-run fourth inning that wiped out a 4-1 deficit against struggling Oakland ace Sonny Gray -- as the A's lost their third straight.

Boston moved into a virtual tie for first place in the AL East with the Baltimore Orioles, whose game was rained out Monday at Minnesota.

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Brock Holt added a two-run homer in the fifth and the sizzling Bradley drilled his slam in the sixth.

Bradley is 6-for-8 with 15 RBIs with the bases loaded the last two seasons. He did drop a fly ball for a run in the seventh inning -- his first error of the season.

Travis Shaw had three hits, and Ortiz drove in his second run of the game with his third hit -- a seventh-inning pop fly that dropped in front of home plate, among three A's.

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Boston starter Clay Buchholz (2-3) staggered through five innings to win his second straight. He allowed four runs on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He wanted more but said, "I thought I got traded or something" when he got pulled after 87 pitches.

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Buchholz heard boos when Khris Davis homered to give Oakland a 4-1 lead in the third, but the right-hander made it through five before the bullpen took over.

Oakland has allowed 24 total runs in the past two games.

Gray, who entered the game with a career-worst 4.84 ERA, including 7.88 in his last three starts, couldn't hold a three-run lead and was gone after 3 2/3 innings.

"He's going through a tough time," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "We haven't seen him struggle. I think we left probably a few outs out on the table for him out there too that may have cost him a few runs. But it's a struggle for him right now."

In his last three starts, Gray (3-4) has totaled 12 2/3 innings and yielded 18 earned runs on 21 hits. His season ERA ballooned to 6.00, and he has matched his career high of seven runs allowed each of his last two starts.

"I feel great," Gray said. "This is obviously the toughest three-game stretch I've ever went through. So I don't know. I'm going to have to sit down tomorrow and start trying to figure some stuff out now. I still feel great and everything."

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Yonder Alonso hit two doubles, and Coco Crisp had two hits, two walks and three runs for the A's.

Oakland's Josh Reddick saw his streak of eight consecutive hits end with a first-inning RBI groundout. The eight hits in as many at-bats -- he also had a walk mixed in -- tied a club record, last tied by Dave Magadan in 1997.

Reddick, 10-for-12 over the weekend in Baltimore, went 1-for-4, driving in a run with a ninth-inning single.

Davis also had an RBI single in the ninth.

Oakland third baseman Danny Valencia left the game in the second inning with left hamstring tightness -- just three days after coming off the disabled list following his recovery from a left hamstring injury.

NOTES: Oakland 2B Jed Lowrie left on crutches after fouling a ball off his right foot, while RHP John Axford had x-rays on his right foot after taking a shot in relief. Oakland manager Bob Melvin, who said RHP Liam Hendricks was unavailable because of elbow stiffness, will name his starter for Wednesday's series finale on Tuesday, with RH Eric Surkamp the likely choice. ... Boston 3B Pablo Sandoval spoke for the first time since undergoing season-ending left shoulder surgery last week, saying, "People said that I was faking. You (the media) said that I was faking. I don't fake at all, because I (have proven) that I can play through pain." ... Red Sox manager John Farrell was reportedly fined but not suspended for coming back onto the field after his ejection on Friday night.

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