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BoSox lead AL East by just half game after loss to A's

BOSTON (AP) -- The manager left one game with nosebleeds. The
designated hitter left another feeling dizzy.

And the Oakland Athletics still managed to take three out of
four from the Boston Red Sox.

"That's right," said A's designated hitter Frank Thomas, who
singled in the second inning before leaving Sunday's game with a
racing pulse and dizziness. "We'll take it."

Joe Blanton held Boston to five hits in seven innings and Mark Kotsay went 4-for-5 with three RBI and an outfield assist to help
Oakland beat the Red Sox 8-1.

The A's took the series from Boston and left the Red Sox with a
half-game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East. Oakland,
which had lost three straight before coming to Boston to start the
second half, opened a one-game advantage in the AL West over the
Texas Rangers, who lost 4-0 to Baltimore.

On a humid, 93-degree day with little wind, Blanton (9-8)
allowed just Alex Gonzalez's solo homer in the fifth and struck out
four while walking two. The heat took Thomas out of the game; after
splashing cold water on his face, he lined a ball off the Green
Monster in the second inning, but he lumbered to first base and
wasn't able to take second, even though left fielder Manny Ramirez
had trouble coming up with the carom.

"I don't even know how I hit it," said the 38-year-old
two-time MVP. "I'm not a kid anymore. I have to be careful."

Thomas reported to A's manager Ken Macha that he was dizzy, and
Macha sent up Nick Swisher to pinch hit in the fourth.

"I said, 'What else is going to happen," said Macha, who had
to leave Friday night's game when the training staff couldn't stop
his nose from bleeding.

Kyle Snyder (1-1), making his second start for Boston since
being claimed on waivers last month, cruised through four shutout
innings but couldn't make it out of the fifth. He allowed five runs
-- all in the fifth -- eight hits and a walk, striking out six in 4
2/3 innings.

"He put himself in real difficult situation to pitch out of,"
Boston manager Terry Francona said. "I thought up to that point he
had done a real good job."

Jason Varitek went 2-for-4 in the game and 6-for-15 in the
series after just three hits in his previous 35 at-bats.

Although Marco Scutaro made two errors at third base, he also
made a nice stop on Kevin Youkilis. Jay Payton added a couple of
nice catches in right field.

"There weren't too many easy plays," said Blanton, who went
7-5 with a 2.65 ERA after the All-Star break last season and is on
the same track this year. "I could go around the whole diamond."

Said Red Sox centerfielder Coco Crisp: "It's one of those games
where we couldn't put the ball in the right spots. They made some
nice plays, but we hit some balls hard."

Jason Kendall had three hits for the A's. Kotsay was 10-for-18
in the series to raise his average from .246 to .263.

It was a scoreless game until the A's sent 10 batters to the
plate in the fifth. Adam Melhuse tried to bunt but Snyder hit him
instead, loading the bases with nobody out. Scutaro walked to drive
in one run, Kotsay drove in a pair with his single, and Swisher and
Payton each had RBI singles.

After Gonzalez made it 5-1, the A's added three insurance runs
on Mark Ellis' double, Kotsay's single and Payton's sacrifice fly.

Game notes
The Red Sox recalled Snyder from Triple-A Pawtucket to
start the game and sent LHP Craig Breslow to Pawtucket to make room
for him. ... The A's won a series at Fenway Park for the first time
since August 2003. ... Olympic snowboardcross gold medalist Seth
Wescott threw out a ceremonial first pitch. ... Varitek caught his
990th game, tying Carlton Fisk for the lead on the Red Sox's career
list. ... Hall of Fame spokesman Jeff Idelson was at the game to
meet with Red Sox reliever Keith Foulke over the spikes he wore in
the 2004 World Series.