Mike Napoli is on a tear for the Boston Red Sox, and that's been fairly common for him at Fenway Park.
The Oakland Athletics ' production at the plate has suddenly slowed.
Napoli will try to continue his torrid stretch as the Red Sox go for another win over the A's in the middle game of this series Tuesday night.
Napoli leads Boston (13-6) with 25 RBIs, driving in 14 over the past seven games. The first baseman has been superb over that stretch, going 11 for 29 with two homers, five doubles and one triple while his average jumped 58 points to .278.
A career .259 hitter, Napoli is very productive at Fenway, where he owns a .365 average with six homers and 22 RBIs over his last 14 games - 10 with the Red Sox.
He connected for his fourth career grand slam and added an RBI double to spur Monday's 9-6 win over Oakland (12-8).
"I've been feeling good on the road, too, but I just love hitting here," Napoli said. "You've got the wall right there and you can get away with some stuff that you don't necessarily have to hit it so good. Sometimes you can hit a pop fly that would be an out at some other parks and it goes off the wall."
An All-Star as a catcher with Texas last year, Napoli has homered in each of the last two games, totaling five hits with seven RBIs.
He homered on three of his five hits over his past five meetings with the A's and is 3 for 8 versus Bartolo Colon , their scheduled starter for Tuesday.
While Napoli is looking to continue swinging a hot bat, Will Middlebrooks hopes that he's snapped out of his funk after hitting a three-run shot Monday. The third baseman had a .093 average with one RBI over the previous 11 games.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts, winning 6-3 at Cleveland on Wednesday. He threw five scoreless innings before giving up three runs and two homers while getting pulled before managing an out in the sixth.
"My fastball, curveball, cutter, changeup, they were real good," Aceves told the team's official website.
He's 3-1 with a 5.17 ERA in nine games - all out of the bullpen - against Oakland, going 2-0 while yielding one run in eight innings over three meetings at Fenway.
The A's are struggling during a four-game slide, batting .175 with 10 runs after hitting .289 and averaging 6.8 runs during a 12-2 run.
Playing outside of the AL West is proving to be a challenge. The A's are 11-2 with a .291 average within the division compared to batting .174 with a 1-6 record versus other teams.
Colon (2-0, 3.32) is trying to beat the Red Sox for the first time since Aug. 18, 2005, with the Los Angeles Angels . Since then, the right-hander is 0-2 with a 2.57 ERA in four games - three starts - against his former team.
Colon spent an injury-plagued 2008 with Boston, as a back problem limited him to seven starts. That was also the last time he started a season with three straight winning decisions.
All three of his starts this season have ended in Oakland victories, and they've registered as quality outings. His latest performance was his best yet, as he tossed six innings while yielding one run and two hits in Wednesday's 7-5 win over Houston.
|April 19, 2013||Brett Anderson||Day-to-Day||Ankle|
|April 13, 2013||Yoenis Cespedes||15-Day DL||Strained muscle, left hand|
|April 12, 2013||Coco Crisp||Day-to-Day||Strained left groin|
|April 10, 2013||Scott Sizemore||60-Day DL||Torn left ACL - out for season|
|April 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Sprained right wrist|
|March 27, 2013||Hiroyuki Nakajima||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|Boston Red Sox|
|April 20, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back tightness|
|April 14, 2013||Joel Hanrahan||15-Day DL||Sore right hamstring|
|April 07, 2013||John Lackey||15-Day DL||Right biceps strain|
|April 06, 2013||John Lackey||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right biceps strain|
|March 27, 2013||Stephen Drew||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|March 27, 2013||Stephen Drew||7-Day DL||Concussion|
BOSTON (AP) -- The rain kept falling and Bartolo Colon kept throwing fastballs for strikes.
He did it while wearing a short sleeve shirt while other players wore head coverings that left only a part of their faces exposed.
The 39-year-old right-hander allowed three hits in a rain-shortened seven-inning complete game and the Oakland Athletics broke a four-game losing streak with a 13-0 win over the Boston Red Sox on a chilly, windy Tuesday night.
"That's the perfect guy to have on the mound in games like that," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said, "a guy who's going to throw strikes, doesn't let the conditions affect him and keeps everybody on their toes because they know, potentially, the ball's going to be in play very quickly.
"He was the right man for the job."
Colon (3-0) needed just 24 pitches to get through the first two innings, 21 of them strikes. By the end, he had thrown 67 strikes and just 27 balls.
"He likes to use his fastball any time," regardless of the conditions, Colon's interpreter said.
But he said he was "a little" sad that he walked his first batter this season in 25 innings when Jacoby Ellsbury reached first leading off the sixth.
The Red Sox made many more mistakes than the A's, who capitalized on eight walks, two balks and two errors.
The A's broke a scoreless tie with six runs in the third when Seth Smith hit a two-run homer, then added two in the fourth, four in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Colon struck out seven and allowed only an infield single in the first by Dustin Pedroia and two-out singles in the fifth by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes .
"It was really cold and every time I'd catch the ball I hurt my hand. It didn't seem to faze (Colon) at all. I guess he's been doing this for a while," A's catcher John Jaso said. "He's a guy who doesn't complain."
Aceves (1-1) retired the first four batters then struggled before being relieved by Steven Wright with the score 8-0 with one out in the fourth. It was, by far, the worst performance by a Boston starter this season. In the other 19 games, starters allowed three or fewer runs 18 times and four runs once.
Oakland went ahead in the third when the first four batters reached base.
"The weather conditions weren't ideal, but to say that it was a major distraction, I don't know that we can go that far. We see what Bartolo did against us," Boston manager John Farrell said. "I thought Alfredo got off to a couple of good innings and then in the third inning things started to unravel.
"It was an ugly inning."
Eric Sogard walked, Coco Crisp singled and Jaso and Smith walked, scoring the first run of the game. Aceves struck out Jed Lowrie before the inning got away from him.
Brandon Moss hit a two-run single, a balk put runners at second and third and a sacrifice fly by Josh Donaldson made it 4-0. Josh Reddick then hit a hard grounder that first baseman Mike Napoli stopped, but Aceves was late covering the base and Reddick was safe.
"It was my fault," Aceves said.
Moss kept running and scored. And when Aceves' throw home went wild for an error, Reddick took second.
Another balk sent Reddick to third and he scored on a throwing error by third baseman Will Middlebrooks on a grounder by Chris Young , making it 6-0.
"There seemed to be a lack of focus" by Aceves, Farrell said.
The Athletics took an 8-0 lead in the fourth on Smith's second homer of the year then added four runs in the fifth off Wright on a two-run double by Crisp and a two-run single by Jaso. Melvin was anxious for the inning to end, making it an official game.
"I was a little nervous because it started raining a little bit harder in the fifth," he said. "You can't tell anybody to go up there and make an out and you never know how many (runs) you're going to need (but) you breathe a little bit more a sigh of relief once you're done with the fifth."
Reddick's RBI double in the sixth gave Oakland a 13-0 lead.
The A's finished with 13 hits after managing a total of 11 in their previous three games and had eight walks for the second consecutive game.
Notes: The stands were nearly empty when the game was called and the Red Sox announced that anyone with ticket stubs could use them to attend games Wednesday against Oakland or Thursday night against Houston. In the second home game of the year, the Red Sox' sellout streak of 794 games in the regular season and 820 including the playoffs officially ended. ... The Athletics started five former Red Sox players - CF Crisp, SS Lowrie, 1B Moss, RF Reddick and Colon. ... Wright, a knuckleball pitcher promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket last week, made his major league debut. ... In the finale of the three-game series on Wednesday night, Brett Anderson (1-3) pitches for Oakland against Jon Lester (3-0). ... Ellsbury's 12-game hitting streak ended.