OAKLAND -- The losses, one after another and often lopsided, have been bad enough.
But on Saturday night, television cameras caught two Red Sox players in a verbal altercation in the dugout after the bottom of the fourth inning.
Reliever Alfredo Aceves and second baseman Dustin Pedroia got into a heated argument. In the previous half-inning, Aceves had repeatedly thrown to second base in an effort to pick off A's outfielder Coco Crisp at second.
When Oakland's Jonny Gomes hit a foul pop-up to the first base side of home plate, Aceves came racing in from the mound and called off catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, only to then drop the ball.
After the inning, the two could be seen arguing, with Pedroia the angrier of the two. Manager Bobby Valentine attempted to intervene, only to be shooed away by Aceves. Eventually, third base coach Jerry Royster separated the two.
According to a source, the argument was the result of Aceves attempting to direct the positioning of the infielders. Defensive positioning in the infield is the purview of Royster, who doubles as the team's infield instructor.
The source added that Pedroia, angry over Aceves's directions, essentially told the volatile reliever to concentrate on pitching and that the infielders would focus on positioning themselves properly.
"It looked worse than it really was,'' maintained the source.
Valentine essentially confirmed that account.
"I'm not sure it was a big flareup,'' said Valentine. "It was just about positioning. Dustin told him he moves when he gets the sign (from the dugout) and (Aceves) wanted to kind of move him over on his own.
"It's Alfredo being Alfredo and Dustin being a baseball player. The conversation wasn't the result of any play. It was just a general Alfredo being Alfredo and Dustin being a baseball player.''
Said Aceves: "(It was) things about our team. It's good. It's something that we have to communicate on between us. But that's us. That's staying with us. Part of the game.''
Pedroia, for his part, was even more direct.
"That's none of your guys' business,'' he said. "That's between teammates.''