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d 55 wins before the All-Star

  • 22 Aug
    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Every time he found himself in trouble, Athletics pitcher A.J. Griffin tried to channel teammate Bartolo Colon. Having seen Oaklands lone All-Star selection keep his calm all season no matter the circumstances, Griffin simply followed suit. Even when he lost a chance at a complete game. Griffin and Grant Balfour combined on a seven-hitter for Griffins third straight victory and the As beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0 Saturday night. Griffin (8-6) wasnt crisp but still went eight scoreless innings to remain unbeaten in his last five starts. The Oakland right-hander pitched with runners on base in each of the first six innings and twice had to work out of two-on, two-out jams. "I just tried to act like number 40 in situations like that," said Griffin, who walked one and struck out three. "Just not show they have me in a situation or they have the upper hand. Thats something Ive learned a lot just watching Bartolo pitch." That was in stark contrast to Griffins previous start against the Red Sox, when he was shelled for nine runs (seven earned) over four innings on April 22. Hes come a long way since then, particularly since his last loss on June 15. Over Griffins last five starts, he is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA. "(He) really made some in-game adjustments, then the command was all of a sudden there," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "He was even lobbying for the ninth, but I wasnt going to have him throw 120-plus pitches." Griffin got help from the As defence. Rookie second baseman Grant Green turned an unassisted double play in the second inning after Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked, then shortstop Jed Lowrie made an impressive recovery and throw to get Dustin Pedroia in the eighth after initially bobbling the ball. Balfour pitched the ninth for his 25th save this season and 43rd consecutive save dating to 2012. The As sputtering offence managed only one extra-base hit off Boston starter Jon Lester (8-6) and one reliever, but made them hold up behind Griffins stellar outing. Since opening the season 6-0, Lester has gone 2-6 with a 6.27 ERA over his last 11 starts. "(Lester) just happened to pitch on the wrong day given how effective their guy was," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a number of opportunities. Unfortunately we couldnt get anything going." Derek Norris homered and Yoenis Cespedes added an RBI single to help the division-leading As end a two-game losing streak and maintain their one-game lead over Texas in the West. Oakland reached 55 wins before the All-Star break for the first time since 1975. Shane Victorino singled twice for Boston, which had won four straight. Norris homered off Lester with two outs in the fifth. Cespedes, mired in a 6-for-37 slump, singled in Jed Lowrie in the sixth to make it 2-0. It was Cespedes first RBI this month. Lester beat the As on April 24 when he allowed three runs over 5 2-3 innings and looked sharp early. Bostons left-hander allowed only one runner to second until Norris homered, and faced just three over the minimum through five innings. Coco Crisps RBI single off reliever Junichi Tazawa in the seventh drove in Josh Reddick for the As final run. NOTES: Colon (12-3) will make his final start for Oakland in the series finale. Detroit manager Jim Leyland, who manages the AL, has said he wont use any pitcher who is used on Sunday. ... Reddick has reached base safely in 19 consecutive games. ... Newly acquired Red Sox LHP Matt Thornton arrived in Oakland before the game and was in uniform. ... Boston RHP Brandon Workman will make his first major league start on Sunday. ... The crowd of 36,067 marked the As ninth sellout of the season. ... 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Liverpool and Southampton sent Chelsea down to fourth place as the west London club was held to 2-2 at home. Alex Stalock Jersey . On Tuesday, Ottawa placed forward Cory Conacher and defenceman Joe Corvo on waivers as trade rumours swirl around the Senators. Troy (9-3, Sun Belt) vs Ohio (8-5, Mid-American), Dec. 23, 8 p.m. ESTLOCATION: Mobile, Alabama.TOP PLAYERSTroy: RB Jordan Chunn, 1,232 yards, 13 touchdowns; 29 catches.Ohio: LB Blair Brown, 116 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss.NOTABLETroy: Became the first Sun Belt team ranked in the AP Top 25 but lost two of three games after that. Rebounded from coach Neal Browns 4-8 debut season.Ohio: Fell 29-23 to unbeaten Westerrn Michigan in the MAC championship game.ddddddddddddLAST TIMETroy 48, Ohio 21 (2010 New Orleans Bowl)BOWL HISTORYTroy: 2/3 in bowl games. First postseason appearance since 2010.Ohio: 2-7 in bowl games, losing two straight.---More AP College Football coverage: www.collegefootball.ap.org ' ' '