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Sox hit Manaea, but drop opener to A's

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- The Red Sox had a much better level of success against Sean Manaea on Monday night than when they were no-hit by the talented lefty 24 days ago, but it still wasn't enough. Rick Porcello was off his game for the second straight start, and Boston took a 6-5 loss to Manaea and the Athletics in the opener of a seven-game homestand.

With the Yankees idle on Monday night, the Red Sox slipped a half-game behind their rivals in the American League East.

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BOSTON -- The Red Sox had a much better level of success against Sean Manaea on Monday night than when they were no-hit by the talented lefty 24 days ago, but it still wasn't enough. Rick Porcello was off his game for the second straight start, and Boston took a 6-5 loss to Manaea and the Athletics in the opener of a seven-game homestand.

With the Yankees idle on Monday night, the Red Sox slipped a half-game behind their rivals in the American League East.

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Multiple times the Red Sox showed hints of a comeback. Rafael Devers belted a solo shot over the Monster in the seventh to make it a one-run game, but Khris Davis answered with a solo shot of his own in the eighth. J.D. Martinez put one over the bullpen in right-center, just out of the reach of A's right fielder Mark Canha in the eighth, and Boston was back within one.

Video: OAK@BOS: Devers rips a solo HR over the Green Monster

But A's closer Blake Treinen protected the lead and saved it for Oakland with a scoreless ninth.

"Our offense did a great job. They kept battling back," said Porcello. "Every time we battled back and got within one or tied it up, myself or whoever else was pitching gave it back up. So we have to do a better job as a pitching staff. The offense did a great job, especially against tough pitching. They battled [Manaea] hard and got him out after six, and we had a chance because of the work that they did."

Video: OAK@BOS: Porcello whiffs Olson in the 2nd

Manaea did enough (six-plus innings, eight hits, three ER) to earn the win and improve to 2-0 against the Red Sox this season. This start was sweet redemption for him after his two previous career starts at Fenway, where he was pounded for 21 runs over 6 1/3 innings.

"Especially with the history I've had here, it was really nice to go out there and limit the damage," Manaea said. "Those are the kind of things I've been working on this year, taking a step back and taking a breath and calming myself down and trying not to speed things up, so I feel like I did a really good job of that."

Porcello took his first loss of the season and gave up two homers after allowing a total of two in his eight starts entering this one.

"He wasn't able to put hitters away," said manager Alex Cora. "Hanging changeup to [Matt] Joyce. Front-door cutter to [Jonathan] Lucroy. And then [Matt] Olson, he made some good pitches down in the zone and left a fastball up and away, and he put a good swing on it. That was the story of the game."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
J.D. continues sizzling stretch: Martinez became the first Boston player to get a hit off Manaea this season when he smashed a single to center to open the second. The slugger was at his best in the eighth, when he roped that solo shot to right.

Video: OAK@BOS: Martinez rips a single off Manaea in the 2nd

Such heroics have become the expected. Martinez has reached base in 19 straight games, batting .405 during that stretch.

"We expect them to compete, all of them, but what he's doing is very special, let's be honest," said Cora. "The way he drives the ball the other way, he uses the middle of the field. Like, back in the day, you talked about little guys staying in the middle of the field or going the other way. Well, he does, but he does it with power. It's fun to watch."

SOUND SMART
The left-handed-hitting Devers is proving to be anything but a platoon player. The 21-year-old third baseman is a career .323 hitter against lefties, and three of his last five homers have been against southpaws.

UP NEXT
Eduardo Rodriguez (3-0, 4.58 ERA) will try to continue the momentum from his last start, when he held the Yankees to one hit and no runs over five innings in a no-decision in New York. The lefty has fared well against the Athletics in his career, going 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in four starts. First pitch at Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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