Winslow Townson Associated Press Boston's Mike Napoli, middle, celebrates with Dustin Pedroia, left, and David Ortiz after hitting a grand slam off A's starter A.J. Griffin in the fifth inning on Monday as catcher Derek Norris waits.

A's losing streak hits four games

Published: Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2013 - 7:45 am

BOSTON – Baseball promotes the liberal use of perspective, as the A's 9-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Monday night underscored.

The A's losing streak reached four games, their longest of this young season. Oakland's early hold on first place in the American League West is gone, as is the early karma during their 9-2 start.

Here's the perspective part. Twenty games into last season, the A's were 10-10 and already 5 1/2 games out of first place. Entering Monday, however, the A's were fractionally out of first place.

So things are better than they were at this point a year ago, and the A's won the division in 2012.

That's the perspective the A's want to take, although after four consecutive losses, that's difficult to do.

"To not start April the way we wanted to, we've been there," Josh Reddick said. "And we came back."

Reddick is starting to come back, at least a little. Flirting with a sub-.100 batting average entering his second at-bat Sunday against Tampa Bay, he singled home the A's only run in that game. Monday, Reddick had an RBI single in the second inning and, after striking out in his next two at-bats, an RBI double in a three-run eighth.

"That's something to build off of," Reddick said. "In the first at-bat, I was able to stay inside on the ball and get the run home. Then in the last at-bat, I was able to go the other way and keep the rally going."

It's not happening all at once for Reddick, but at least there's progress. His .140 average is about half of what he'd consider passable.

Josh Donaldson is suffering the same woes, although he's a little further along. He was at .120 seven games into the season, but he's 16 for 49 (.327) since then to get to .264. He doubled and scored on Reddick's single in the second and delivered a two-run double in the eighth.

"When you get guys on base, you have to drive them in," Donaldson said. "In Tampa, we didn't do that. Tonight, we did a couple of times, not some other times. We still lost the game, we came up short, but at the end of the day, we can take those at-bats into tomorrow."

That's the plan. But the A's have struggled since the schedule took them from A.L. West competition. Oakland is 11-2 against the West and 1-6 against everyone else.

Monday, the A's had only five hits. Their defense is having trouble, too. An error by second baseman Andy Parrino set up Mike Napoli's decisive grand slamin the fifth, and an error by first baseman Brandon Moss set up another run.

Note – The A's acquired outfielder Casper Wells from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash. Wells is expected to be in uniform today, and Michael Taylor probably will be sent to the River Cats.

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