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April 23, 2013

Napoli hits grand slam, Sox offense explodes against A's

BOSTON (AP) — Mike Napoli hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, Will Middlebrooks busted out of a slump with a three-run homer and the Boston Red Sox rebounded from a doubleheader sweep by beating the Oakland Athletics 9-6 last night.

The Red Sox, swept by Kansas City in a split-doubleheader Sunday, scored three runs in the fourth and five in the fifth. Napoli’s fourth career slam keyed the five-run fifth and helped end Oakland’s eight-game winning streak against Boston.

The Athletics dropped their season-high fourth straight after being swept in a three-game series at the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend. Oakland’s winning streak against Boston was its longest in franchise history since the Philadelphia Athletics won eight in row in 1932.

Felix Doubront (2-0) struggled with his control, but got the win on a night with wind chills in the 30s. He allowed three runs on three hits, walking five. He also threw two wild pitches and struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings.

A.J. Griffin (2-1) was tagged for a career-worst nine runs — seven earned — and eight hits in four-plus innings.

Dustin Pedroia went 0 for 5, ending his streak of reaching base safely in each of Boston’s first 18 games.

Trailing 2-1 in the fourth, the Red Sox jumped in front when the slumping Middlebrooks belted his homer. Napoli was hit by a pitch and Daniel Nava doubled down the left field line before Middlebrooks, just 4 for his last 43 since hitting three homers in Toronto on April 7, homered into the Green Monster seats.

Chris Young’s sacrifice fly cut it to 4-3 in the fifth, but the Athletics left the bases loaded. Boston then broke it open with Napoli’s slam.

Shane Victorino singled leading off and Pedroia reached on a fielder’s choice. Second baseman Andy Parrino dropped a throw at second trying to get a force on the play. David Ortiz then walked before Napoli hit an 0-1 pitch into the first row of Monster seats into deep left-center. Jarrod Saltalamacchia added an RBI double off reliever Chris Resop, making it 9-3.

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