Red Sox-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

While the Oakland Athletics are being cautious with Brett Anderson, the recently returned left-hander hasn't needed any time to ease back into the rotation.

Brandon Inge's return from the disabled list did not go as well.

Anderson will try to win for the third time in as many starts and help the red-hot Athletics complete a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery in July 2011, Anderson (2-0, 0.64 ERA) was called up at the end of August and has pitched gems in wins over Minnesota and Cleveland. He allowed two hits - one on a questionable call - in seven innings of a 3-0 win over the Indians on Monday.

"I thought his stuff was good last time," manager Bob Melvin told the Athletics' official website. "I personally thought it was even better tonight. ... His stuff was really good, electric."

Anderson will try to help Oakland win nine in a row for the first time since a 10-game run in June 2006, the last season it made the playoffs. Since losing his first start against Boston, Anderson is 4-1 with a 2.92 ERA in the last six.

Oakland (75-57) has averaged 8.3 runs and is batting .312 with 18 homers during the eight-game streak. The A's lost their first meeting this season against Boston but have followed with seven consecutive wins in the series, outscoring the Red Sox 54-24.

While the surge has helped Oakland strengthen its hold on the top wild-card spot, its also pulled within three games of West-leading Texas.

A.J. Griffin scattered one run and three hits over seven innings, Coco Crisp and Chris Carter each homered and the A's scored four runs in the third, highlighted by Inge's two-run double. He would leave in the top of the fourth.

Inge had been activated earlier in the day after missing three weeks with a shoulder injury. He's hitting .226 with 11 homers and 52 RBIs in 74 games with Oakland this year, but now is likely headed for season-ending surgery.

"I probably didn't tell them how bad it hurt,'' Inge, who was injured in the top half of the third, said. "Every time I throw the ball, it kills me. But I just wanted to make sure on a year like this I didn't leave anything on the table. I know that I can kind of be at peace with myself knowing that I literally gave everything that I had to offer to this team.''

Meanwhile, Boston (62-72) matched a season high with its fifth straight loss - three of which have been decided by six or more runs.

The Red Sox will hand the ball to Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-3, 5.10), who was impressive in his return from the disabled list.

After coming back from Tommy John surgery in June, Matsuzaka made five starts before landing back on the disabled list in July with a strained neck muscle.

On Monday against Kansas City, he gave up one unearned run and five hits over seven innings of a 5-1 victory.

''I tried back in June and I didn't get the results I wanted. I didn't feel like I'd be able to come back strong again this season,'' he said through a translator. ''I went back to my final two rehab starts and threw the ball really well. I knew if I could do that up here the results would come.''

The right-hander's previous start before being placed on the disabled list came July 2 at Oakland. He allowed five runs and four hits, including two homers, while failing to record an out in the second inning of a 6-1 defeat.

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