Then they did it again in the fourth. And again in the fifth. And in the eighth, when the A’s piled on eight unearned runs to finish off the Boston Red Sox 15-3 and help their All-Star left-hander win for the first time in almost a month.
“It was nice to just be able to go out there and see them produce offensively,” said Zito, who got a total of one run of support during his three-game losing streak. “Kind of hard to keep track.”
Mark Ellis homered and matched a career high with five RBIs, and Milton Bradley returned to the lineup with three RBIs and a homer-saving catch as the A’s reached a season high in runs. Mark Kotsay had three of Oakland’s season-high 16 hits.
That was plenty for Zito (9-6). Oakland’s only All-Star, he allowed two runs, six hits, four walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch. He struck out three, leaving after Coco Crisp’s single with no outs in the sixth made it 7-1.
A’s manager Ken Macha left the game early because of persistent nosebleeds. A’s spokesman Jim Young said he was taken to Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary for precautionary reasons.
Josh Beckett (11-5) lost for the first time at Fenway Park, allowing seven runs and eight hits, including his major league-worst 27th homer. He struck out three and walked four and failed to make it through six innings for the first time in six starts.
“I feel good,” he said. “When you feel that good physically, that’s what really gets under your skin. When you feel good, it’s supposed to be an easy day.
“No excuses. It was brutal. The score ended up looking like that. It was just brutal.”
Bradley, who has made two lengthy stays on the disabled list because of knee, side and shoulder injuries, was activated overnight and, in the first inning, robbed Manny Ramirez of a homer with a catch over the bullpen wall in right-center.
“He hit it. I caught it,” Bradley said. “Simple.”
Bradley led off the next inning and was robbed by Kevin Youkilis’ diving stop at first. But he singled and scored in the fourth and hit a two-run double in the three-run fifth as the A’s opened a 7-0 lead.
“First day back off the DL and it was just really impressive to see him get out there and start everything over,” Zito said. “It’s a new half. It’s probably like a new season for him. He just played like he’s Milton Bradley tonight.”
Boston made it 7-2 in the sixth, but the A’s scored eight runs in the eighth, sending 13 batters to the plate for six hits, two walks and two errors. The Red Sox still lead the majors with just 33 errors this season, but they have committed three in the past two nights accounting for nine unearned runs.
Crisp made a diving catch in center on Ellis in the second inning and made a catch in deep center on Bobby Crosby in the first. Crisp also tripled and scored in the eighth.
With his 32nd career homer, Ellis tied Dave Collins’ major league record for home runs by a player born in South Dakota. … Red Sox LHP Lenny DiNardo, making a rehab start in Triple-A Pawtucket, left with a shoulder problem after facing four batters and giving up a grand slam. … The Red Sox stole eight bases in the previous three games after stealing just eight in the 35 before that. … Oakland DH Frank Thomas walked in the eighth to surpass Lou Gehrig and move into 14th on the all-time list with 1,508. … The top five spots in the Boston lineup went 2-for-18.