Major League Baseball
Nomar, Cust homer as A's down Red Sox
Major League Baseball

Nomar, Cust homer as A's down Red Sox

Published Apr. 14, 2009 6:58 a.m. ET

Nomar Garciaparra stepped up to the batter's box and thought it was kind of funny to see Jason Varitek crouched behind home plate.

"It was just the strangest thing," Garciaparra said of facing his old team for the first time. "The last time I saw Varitek behind the plate like that was in an intersquad game a long time ago. It just felt weird."

The situation didn't phase Garciaparra, though. He and Jack Cust each homered, and Jason Giambi and Matt Holliday both drove in two runs as the Oakland Athletics beat the Boston Red Sox 8-2 Monday night for their first home win of the season.

Garciaparra, who played for Boston from 1996-2004, gave the A's a 6-1 lead with his fifth-inning home run.

Dallas Braden (1-1) pitched six solid innings and the Athletics ended a three-game losing skid. He allowed two runs on six hits, walking one and striking out three. Orlando Cabrera and Bobby Crosby also drove in runs for the A's.

"We did a lot of good things," Garciaparra said. "We had some clutch hits and Dallas pitched a great game."

Kevin Youkilis hit a home run and doubled for the Red Sox, who lost their fifth in six games. David Ortiz also drove in a run for Boston, which is off to its worst start since opening 2-12 in 1996.

Jon Lester (0-2) allowed six runs and 10 hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.

"I don't think I pitched as bad as the linescore says," Lester said. "I feel like I'm executing my pitches and not getting the results I want. Yeah, it was frustrating."

The Red Sox had won Lester's last six starts following a loss. The A's were the last team to beat Boston with Lester on the mound after a loss on May 25 in Oakland. Lester had allowed three runs in his previous 12 2-3 innings at the Coliseum.

Youkilis gave the Red Sox the early lead with his second home run, a solo shot leading off the second. He also doubled to maintain his AL-leading average at .519.

Cust tied it with a leadoff homer in the second. Kurt Suzuki followed with a single, Bobby Crosby was hit by a pitch, and after two strikeouts, Cabrera singled home a run ahead of Giambi's two-run double. Holliday followed with a run-scoring single.

"He gave up five runs in that one inning but I thought once he got in trouble he did a good job of trying to get out of it," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Lester. "After the home run he got all the way to Cabrera before the jam hit and then Giambi."

Cust has reached base safely in 36 consecutive games, the longest current streak. Jason Bay, who singled in the seventh, is next at 20 games.

"We had the big second inning and went from there," Cust said. "I was excited once we got the five-spot. I'm feeling good and seeing the ball well and not trying to do too much."

Braden retired 12 of 13 batters at one point. He walked Rocco Baldelli with one out in the sixth and gave up singles to Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz.

"I was able to get ahead of the guys and when I can put the pressure on them early I'm helping myself," Braden said. "Everybody knows they are a patient team. With they get runners in scoring position you have to be careful."

Michael Wuertz, Santiago Casilla and Brad Ziegler each pitched a scoreless inning to complete the six-hitter.

The Red Sox have lost four straight in Oakland and are 3-11 in their last 14 games here.

Crosby hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth to make it 8-2.


A's 3B Eric Chavez missed the game with a sore shoulder and will likely miss Tuesday's game as well. ... Suzuki has hit safely in all 13 of his games against Boston, matching Tony Armas for the A's longest hitting streak against the Red Sox. ... Red Sox INF Jed Lowrie was placed on the 15-day DL with a sore left wrist. INF Gil Velazquez was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his place. ... Giambi has 113 RBIs against the Red Sox, the most of any active player. ... Lester picked off Ryan Sweeney and Cabrera, who each singled, in consecutive at bats to end the fourth.


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