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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, June 22 (All times Eastern)

Boston Red Sox (34-41) at Oakland Athletics (47-28), 4:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - Jon Lester (8-7, 3.20) Oakland - Tommy Milone (5-3, 3.56)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Red Sox will close out a four-game set out in Oakland on Sunday by sending ace Jon Lester to the mound to face the Athletics.

The A's will counter with Tommy Milone to close out the series. Oakland is solidly ahead in the AL West Division standings, but the Red Sox have some catching up to do in the AL East.

Lester has been very productive in his last five starts, earning decisions in all of them with a 4-1 record. He enters the game Sunday with an 8-7 record on the season and a 3.20 earned run average. Lester has notched 105 strikeouts and just 25 walks through 15 starts.

He dominated a reeling Twins squad Tuesday in his most recent outing. Lester lasted 6 1/3 innings after surrendering just four hits and one run, all while striking out six Twins batters.

"He was able to induce more early outs and not as many foul balls," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "And really, his performance allowed us to piece some things together with the bullpen when we had a couple of guys we were trying to stay away from."

Lester is 5-4 lifetime against the Athletics with a 3.77 ERA.

Milone has been a gem for the Athletics recently, and after a slow start to the season, he'll look to gain his sixth straight win. He enters the matchup with a 5-3 record and a 3.56 ERA with 49 strikeouts.

In his career, Milone has been inefficient against the Red Sox. He owns an 0-2 record in two starts versus Boston with a 13.50 ERA and a 2.19 WHIP.

In his last outing, Milone gave up three runs on five hits while striking out three in 5 2/3 innings pitched against Texas. The A's won the contest, 10-6, and Milone was credited with the victory.

The Sox dropped their third straight contest to Oakland Saturday, this time in extra innings. They'll look to avoid the sweep with Lester on the mound.

The Athletics were able to get some help from former Boston outfielder Coco Crisp in the bottom of the 10th inning Saturday. Crisp singled to right field and drove in Alberto Callaspo, who provided the winning run. Oakland was victorious, 2-1.

"I didn't want to wait around for the splitter so I was hoping that he would come in to what I was looking for, and he did. Another lucky guess," Crisp said after the game.

Both starting pitchers were phenomenal Saturday. Jesse Chavez and Rubby De La Rosa each lasted seven innings on the mound - Chavez not surrendering a run and De La Rosa allowing just one. Edward Mujica was tagged with the loss for Boston in extras, while Dan Otero picked up his sixth win.

Crisp and Callaspo tallied the runs batted in for the Athletics, while Dustin Pedroia scored on a wild pitch to provide Boston's lone run. Brock Holt registered three hits and a walk in the loss.

Oakland has now won 11 of its last 12 against Boston at home.

06/22 10:29:04 ET

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