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A’s still can’t figure out Fenway

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Mookie Betts, seen here in 2015, had himself a day against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday. (Courtesy Keith Allison/Flickr)
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As hot as the Oakland Athletics had been, it didn’t help them in Boston. The team that had won five in a row, including a four-game sweep of the Houston Astros, lost a seventh consecutive game at Fenway Park, dropping the series opener to the Red Sox, 11-1.

The A’s have not won a game in Beantown since 2014 and have lost 11 of 13. The last time Oakland won a series in Boston was 2012. The struggles have gone on for so long that Jim Johnson was the winning pitcher the last time the A’s won a game in New England. Oakland pitchers have allowed double-digit runs in four straight games at Boston.

Sean Manaea was roughed up on Tuesday, allowing seven runs on 11 hits over 3.2 innings, yet his line was slightly better than his start last year at Fenway, when Boston tagged the left-hander for eight runs in 2.2 innings. If there’s a silver lining, Manaea pitched brilliantly for the two months following that start and will look to finish 2017 on a similar trajectory.

Oakland took a 1-0 lead in the first on Jed Lowrie’s RBI double and Manaea got out of a jam in the first by getting Mookie Betts to ground into a double play, but everything went downhill from there.

Boston scored five runs in the bottom of the second, capped off by Betts’ two-run triple. After Manaea settled down in the third, Betts delivered the knockout blow in the fourth, hitting a two-run homer to stretch the score to 7-1.

The Athletics’ bats were silenced by Eduardo Rodriguez after the first inning. Rodriguez walked four but allowed just one hit over six innings, striking out nine.

The A’s have to be thankful they don’t see the left-hander more frequently. In three career starts against Oakland, Rodriguez has a 1.29 ERA and a 2-0 record.

Simon Castro and Raul Alcantara each gave up two runs out of the bullpen, with Alcantara surrendering Betts’ second two-run homer of the night. In all, Betts went 3-for-4, driving in six. Betts finished with 11 total bases. To put that in perspective, a player who hits for the cycle gets 10.

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