OAKLAND -- The good news? The Red Sox snapped a stretch of six straight games in which they failed to score more than two runs.
The bad news? They barely cleared the hurdle, scoring three, and it proved to be insufficient.
In a tie game in the eighth inning, Andrew Miller hit batters with consecutive pitches, then allowed a run-scoring single to right field to Coco Crisp, handing the Oakland A's a 4-3 decision.
The Red Sox had erased a 3-0 Oakand lead from the first inning; first with a two-run single from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second and then they tied things in the third when David Ortiz beat the shift and singled to right, scoring Xander Bogaerts from second.
But the Sox offense went into hibernation again after the third inning, as the team collected just two more hits the rest of the way. Over the final five innings, Red Sox hitters struck out seven times.
Felix Doubront returned after a month's absence and promptly fell behind 3-0 in the first inning after just four batters.
After Dustin Pedroia failed to turn a double play with a slight bobble, Doubront walked Yoenis Cespedes and yielded a three-run homer to left to Josh Donaldson.
The A's managed only four hits the rest of the way, but Crisp's game-winning single, aided by Miller's hit batsmen, was more than enough.
AT A GLANCE
STAR OF THE GAME: Josh Donaldson
The A's All-Star third baseman belted a three-run homer in the first off Felix Doubront and the A's never trailed after that. Donaldson has now hit safely in six games following a career-worst 0-for-33 slump.
HONORABLE MENTION: Coco Crisp
The former Red Sox outfielder made his ex-team pay in the bottom of the eighth when he lined an opposite field single to right, scoring Kyle Blanks with the go-ahead run
GOAT OF THE GAME: Andrew Miller
Miller had a stretch back in May when he was the losing pitcher four times in the span of two weeks. On Friday, he took another loss when he hit two hitters on conseucutive pitches, then gave up the game-winning hit to Crisp.
TURNING POINT: The Red Sox had a chance to take the lead in the fifth when Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz singled and gave the Sox runners at first and second, but couldn't produce a run. The Sox didn't collect another hit the rest of the way.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Red Sox, who trailed 3-0 after four A's hitters had come to the plate, dropped to 9-31 when the opponent scores first.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "One run shy...again. But we're right there. We've just got to find a way to capitalize and get one more run than them.'' - Jonny Gomes.