The Boston Red Sox entered the opener of a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics having won 10 of their past 13 games.

Nearly every hitter is in a groove. Designated hitter David Ortiz has caught fire, raising his batting 37 points during that stretch. Adrian Beltre continues to swing a hot bat, with his average still hovering around the .330 mark.

Only the likes of former MVP Dustin Pedroia and offseason acquisition Marco Scutaro entered the month of May swinging cold bats. Neither Pedroia nor Scutaro did much to improve their batting average against Oakland, but Beltre, first baseman Kevin Youkilis , and catcher Victor Martinez managed to.

The trio worked their magic after the struggles of John Lackey , their starting pitcher and huge offseason investment, continued. His control was poor once more, but even when he did find the strikezone his repertoire couldn’t fool Oakland.

They tagged him for four runs in the opening five innings, allowing two each in the third and fifth. The four-run deficit could have been much larger. He worked around two two-out singles in the second, a two-out triple in the third, and escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fifth after quickly surrendering two runs in the frame.

Boston’s bats took advantage of the Athletics inability to push across more runs, teeing off on 24-year-old starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez in the bottom of the fifth. Martinez clubbed his second double of the evening after Pedroia’s batting average dipped to .252 with a leadoff groundout, then stayed put as Youkilis’s hot-shot to third base ate up Kevin Kouzmanoff .

After Ortiz struck out, which has been a rare occurrence over the past few weeks, Beltre followed by doing what Ortiz has been accustomed to doing, striking a Gonzalez curveball into the front-row seats of the Green Monster for a three-run homer , pulling Boston within one.

That would be all the production they would obtain in the fifth, but certainly there was more to come. Lackey managed to work out of a two-on, one-out situation in the top of the sixth, and the Red Sox offense thanked him for his efforts, no matter how ineffective he was overall.

Twenty-three-year-old reliever Tyson Ross replaced Gonzalez to begin the inning, walked left-fielder Bill Hall and center-fielder Darnell McDonald , somberly shuffled off the mound upon being taken out, then watched Craig Breslow , a former-Red Sox, load the bases by missing with a full-count fastball to Scutaro.

Breslow benefited from Pedroia, who is in a rut similar to Ortiz’s April slump. The second baseman grounded into a double-play, a presumed rally-killer even though the tying run scored on the play.

Now, two were out with McDonald on third. Boston could have been in a much better situation if Pedroia managed to right his wrongs at the plate, but thanks to Martinez, his struggles didn’t completely end the threat. Martinez pummeled a Breslow offering deep to center-field, deep into the triangle over 400 feet away. It was his third double and it gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead.

The unanswered runs would continue, as Hall tripled in J.D. Drew in the sixth and the floodgates opened in the eighth. Not surprisingly, Martinez was involved in the lengthening of the lead.

On-deck with Pedroia at the plate, he watched the short, stocky second-place hitter do what he himself had done three times already: sock a double. And this one rivaled his sixth inning two-bagger in length.

He made sure Pedroia’s first hit in 23 at-bats wouldn’t come in vain, slicing yet another double, this one lunging over the short-porch in right field on one bound. Five hits, four of which were doubles , becoming the first catcher to accomplish such a feat since Sandy Alomar did so in 1997 at Fenway.

The final of nine unanswered runs were tallied by rbi-singles off the bats of Youkilis and Drew. With that, the Red Sox notched another win, their 30th of the season, placing them five games back of American League East division-leading Tampa Bay, whom they had swept at Tropicana Field just before their successful series opener against the A’s, the unlikely leader of the AL West.

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