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A's pitcher Dan Haren was strong for seven innings as the Athletics defeated the Red Sox, Wednesday.
OAKLAND — Eric Chavez was stuck in traffic around noon Wednesday on I-880 south, alongside a bunch of Red Sox fans, and A's fans so locked into getting inside the Coliseum themselves, they didn't realize the franchise's player could use some help to arrive in time for the game.

Chavez figured there was no chance he would arrive in time, called ahead for a backup plan, but ended up reaching the parking lot by 12:15, hit the field at 12:20, and made it just in time.

Feeling like he's "over the hump," Chavez was in good spirits Wednesday for the first time in over a week, and the same can be said for the rest of the A's.

Dan Haren got the A's starting pitchers over the hump of their recent slump, Frank Thomas continued to carry the offense with two home runs, and the A's avoided a series sweep with a 5-1 win over the Red Sox before a sellout crowd of 35,077 at the Coliseum.

"We needed a good start out of (Haren) badly," A's manager Ken Macha said. "We're in a tough stretch here. We need to scrap forevery win we can."

The win snapped the A's three-game losing streak. They will remain in first place, in a tie with the Angels, for a 42nd consecutive day.

Haren (7-9) allowed one run in seven innings, retired 14 in a row from the second to the seventh and won his first game since June 14.

"I think a lot of him is frustration," Chavez said.


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"He's pitched really well and doesn't have the wins to show for it. I told him to pitch the way he's been pitching and try to get wins for the team. He's got tons of quality starts. He's undermining himself a little for the quality pitcher he is."

Thomas' solo homer in the fourth gave the A's a 1-0 lead. Chavez kept the rally going with a single later in the inning, and Bobby Crosby singled a run home. Thomas hit a three-run shot off Kyle Snyder (2-2) to provide all the offense Haren and two relievers would need.

"(Thomas') been everything we've hoped he would be — and way further," Chavez said. "He was hitting home runs early. Now he's getting big hits against some pretty good pitchers in some pretty key situations."

The hope was Thomas could play two-thirds of the games this year. By starting Wednesday, it was his 78th out of 100. His home runs were his 21st and 22nd of the year. His 58 RBIs now lead the team.

He's on pace for 36 and 87, and has already exceeded the A's expectations.

"Who knows, he might score from second on a single before the year is over, or a couple of those balls off the wall might be a double," Macha said, smiling. "Him and Milton (Bradley) have been a big part for us getting off fairly well in the second half."

Crosby took a swing in the sixth inning and reached for his back afterward. He felt good enough to try stealing second base and was thrown out, then was removed from the game with a mild back strain, which cost him two games last weekend in Detroit. He left after the game to see a doctor.

Chavez's doctor appointment was Wednesday morning. After previous MRIs on his forearms, his elbows were examined.

"We're working our way up the ladder," trainer Larry Davis said. "That's the next logical place to identify."

The results on the images showed nothing unusual. The results in Chavez's mind are most encouraging.

"The first game against (the Red Sox) was the best I've felt in a long time," Chavez said. "The last two were not as good, but it's getting better."

Chavez went 2-for-4 and had a potential double go foul. It was his first two-hit game since June 16. Most important, he feels like he can catch up to fastballs.

"I'm always more encouraged by how I feel," Chavez said. "Once I feel good, I know things can happen more often. It's definitely getting there. I'm finally seeing some results."

How they scored

Athletics fourth: With one out, F.Thomas homered. Swisher singled. Kielty struck out. Chavez singled, Swisher to third. Crosby singled, Swisher scored. Athletics 2, Red Sox 0.

Athletics fifth: Kendall singled. Kotsay flied out. Kendall stole second. Bradley walked. F.Thomas homered, Kendall and Bradley scored. Athletics 5, Red Sox 0.

Red Sox seventh: With one out, Ramirez doubled. Nixon walked. Lowell grounded into fielder's choice, Ramirez to third, Nixon out. Crisp singled, Ramirez scored. Athletics 5, Red Sox 1.

For more A's coverage, visit http://www.insidebayarea.com/athletics and to read ANG's baseball blog, go to http://www.ibabuzz.com/baseball.