A little extra work paid off for Darren Lewis, who ended an 0-for-18 slump with a tie-breaking home run to lead off the seventh inning and lift the Red Sox to a 3-2 victory over Oakland on Tuesday night.
“I had three bad games. You have to take it in stride,” Lewis said. “I got here early and went to the cage and got some extra work in. It paid off.”
The homer was the seventh of the season for Lewis, hardly a home run threat, and only the 21st of his career in just over 1,300 at-bats.
Lewis has been a vital part of Boston’s surprisingly strong season, according to Manager Jimy Williams.
“He’s played a lot of games real hard this year and has been an integral part of our offense,” Williams said.
Nomar Garciaparra tied his season-high with four hits, going four for four, and the Red Sox beat Oakland for the eighth time in nine games this season.
Garciaparra singled in his first three at-bats before doubling in the seventh.
Mike Blowers had a solo homer for Oakland, which suffered only its second loss in eight games.
The Athletics had tied the game, 2-2, in the top of the seventh on Jason Giambi’s RBI single before Lewis homered into the left-field screen.
“They pretty much had been pitching me away all night,” Lewis said. “They tried to sneak a fastball by me and I was able to drive it.”
“He golfed it,” losing pitcher Kenny Rogers (12-6) said.
Greg Swindell (4-5) picked up his first Red Sox victory since being acquired from Minnesota on July 31. He was 0-2 with Boston.
Tom Gordon got the last three outs for his 37th save.
Rogers couldn’t change his pattern on the road and suffered the loss. Rogers, 9-0 with a 2.13 ERA at home, fell to 3-6 with a 4.23 ERA in his road starts.
Boston took a 2-0 lead in the first when Rogers walked Mike Stanley with the bases loaded and Troy O’Leary hit an RBI single.
Blowers homered leading off the sixth, his third of his career against Boston starter Tim Wakefield.