BOSTON Three days at Fenway Park usually does nothing to lift the A's spirits.
But they left Boston on Wednesday night feeling much better about themselves than when they arrived.
Oakland captured a three-game series from the Red Sox with a 4-2 win that culminated with Brian Fuentes notching his 200th career save.
The A's arrived in Beantown after a demoralizing loss Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles, when they coughed up a two-run lead in the ninth inning. They lost the series opener to the Red Sox 11-6 but took the final two games as their pitching clamped down on the major leagues' highest-scoring club.
"Anytime you lose a game in the ninth inning, it's tough," catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "That's why you play 162. The next thing you know, we take two out of three against Boston."
The A's, who climbed back to .500 at 13-13, hadn't won a series at Fenway since July 13-16, 2006. They entered Wednesday having lost 18 of their previous 24 games in the storied ballpark.
But their starting pitching helped turn things around. Jarrod Parker and Brandon McCarthy combined to allow just two runs and nine hits over 131/3 innings in the two victories.
McCarthy (2-3), winless through his first five outings, won his second straight start, going 62/3 innings and scattering five hits.
For his career, he is 8-0 with a 3.34 ERA in 13 starts against the American League East.
"We're getting runs, getting them early, and we pitched well," McCarthy said. "We did all the things we need to do to win games."
The A's have 15 runs and 30 hits over the past three games, an offensive avalanche by their standards. They scored first in each game of the series, which took a little pressure off the pitchers.
They scored three runs in the sixth Wednesday to give McCarthy a 4-0 lead, getting RBI doubles from Seth Smith, Kila Ka'aihue and Brandon Inge. Smith went 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
Setup man Ryan Cook continued his excellence with 11/3 scoreless innings.
That set the stage for Fuentes. A's manager Bob Melvin said he didn't use struggling closer Grant Balfour because of Balfour's recent heavy use.
Working with a three-run cushion, Fuentes allowed a run on Dustin Pedroia's double but closed things out. He joined John Franco, Sparky Lyle, Randy Myers, Dave Righetti and Billy Wagner as the only left-handers in major league history to reach 200 saves. Fuentes has endured some rocky times with the A's since signing before the 2011 season and struggled as the temporary closer last season.
"It means a lot to me," Fuentes said.
Suzuki was hit on the left hand by a Daniel Bard fastball in the sixth inning but stayed in the game. His hand was wrapped after the game, and he is scheduled for X-rays.
Left fielder Coco Crisp left the game in the eighth inning because of continued inner-ear problems, and Melvin said the disabled list is a possibility for Crisp. In that case, it's possible Michael Taylor rejoins the A's from the River Cats.