BOSTON — Doug Fister's rough start was too much for the Boston Red Sox to overcome this time.
Matt Olson hit a two-run homer, Jed Lowrie drove in two runs and the Oakland Athletics rebounded for a 7-3 victory over the AL East leaders to win for the sixth time in seven games Wednesday night.
The loss trimmed Boston's cushion in the division to three games over the New York Yankees, who beat Tampa Bay 3-2.
For the fifth straight outing, Fister (5-8) got off to a slow start in the first inning. Keyed by Olson's homer, last-place Oakland grabbed a 4-0 lead in the first.
"Well, there's not a whole lot to be said," said Fister, who gave up six runs in four innings. "If you kind of sum it up into a couple of words, it's just not enough."
Oakland, which owns the majors' worst road record (22-48), snapped an eight-game losing streak away from home. The A's had dropped their last seven at Fenway Park.
Fister was 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his previous four starts, allowing all his runs in the first.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said the club might readdress Fister's pregame routine.
"He warms up earlier than most guys and then there's a little bit of a gap of time between the end of his warmups and the first pitch," Farrell said. "To me that's the only common thread that I can see here — maybe that little bit of an expanded time frame forces him to go out and re-establish his release point."
Dustin Pedroia had three singles for Boston to extend his hitting streak against the A's to 26 games. The Red Sox had won five of six overall.
Jharel Cotton (8-10) picked up the win, allowing three runs in five innings. He entered 1-7 with an 8.00 ERA in night games.
"You look at the boxscore and it doesn't tell you how he battled and had to make some big pitches with the lead," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
Five relievers held Boston scoreless the rest of the way.
A night after getting routed 11-1 by the Red Sox, Oakland built a 6-1 lead by scoring four in the first and two in the third.
Lowrie had an RBI triple and Khris Davis a run-scoring single in the first before Olson hit his homer into the A's bullpen.
"Scoring those four runs helped," Cotton said.
Boston scored a run in the first on Mookie Betts' RBI grounder and one in the third on Andrew Benintendi's RBI double.
SIGN OF THE TIMES
A few fans seated above the Green Monster unfurled a sign denouncing racism during the fourth inning. The sign, draped over the middle of the 37-foot wall, had a black background with white letters that read: "Racism is as American as Baseball." It was up for about one batter and umpires asked that it be removed because it was in fair territory. There was a smattering of boos from the crowd as Red Sox security forced the fans to put away the sign and led them away from their seats. A team spokesman said four people were escorted from the ballpark and one of them said they were inspired by Black Lives Matter.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) threw his second simulated game. "He's in the process of building up arm strength," Farrell said. "I thought he threw with good velocity." Price, who has seldom spoken to the media while working his way back, said: "I don't know how many more times I have to do a live BP, but if I come tomorrow and feel fine, I don't know what else I have to do."
THINKING OF HOME
Cotton, who grew up on St. Thomas of the United States Virgin Islands, had a message on his cap that read: "VIBVI Strong" to remind people of the help needed after Hurricane Irma hit the area.
"I put it on this start just because I wanted to get it out there," he said. "I've been doing the fundraising and stuff like that to show that I represent the British and U.S. Virgin Islands."
The Red Sox announced they have reached a long-term agreement with retired slugger David Ortiz that "should link him with the organization forever."
Ortiz is expected to act as a mentor for current players, help recruit players, make appearances and help develop business for Fenway Sports Management and its partners.
"He got his long-term deal," Farrell joked before adding: "His place in this organization speaks for itself. I'm glad he's going to be here. I hope to be able to include him in some player aspects going forward."
Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (4-8, 5.02 ERA) starts the series finale Thursday afternoon.
Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (15-5, 3.35) is up for Boston. He's won eight of his last nine decisions.
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