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On Baseball

Red Sox offense needs to start capitalizing

Mike Napoli, whose home run won Wednesday’s game, was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Thursday.

EPA

Mike Napoli, whose home run won Wednesday’s game, was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Thursday.

OAKLAND, Calif. — Jake Peavy was a little too apologetic following a 4-2 loss to the Athletics Thursday.

“At some point you have to man up and turn it around,” he said.

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Peavy was speaking about his own performance — 6 innings, three earned runs.

If anyone has to man up, it’s the Red Sox offense. You should be able to win a game when you pitch as well as Peavy pitched Thursday.

“I was shaky to start and physically didn’t feel very good,” he said. “We made pitches to get out of the first inning. The ball leaked back a bit on the [Yoenis] Cespedes home run.

“We know the situation we’ve been in as a team so we can’t get too far behind. We’re just not in synch. If anybody watched the game, physically I wasn’t on point for a while. Luckily it didn’t cost us all the runs.

“It’s tough losing. We have to come out on the better side of these things.”

Peavy lamented that he didn’t go to second base to start a double play in the second inning. With two runners on, he turned to second after fielding a Derek Norris grounder and didn’t see a fielder near the bag. He threw instead to third to take out the lead runner.

Xander Bogaerts then made an errant throw across the diamond, which allowed the A’s to score the first run. Peavy didn’t make the play the way he wanted, but he didn’t make the throwing error, Bogaerts did.

“Obviously, such little things. If I go to second base we probably don’t get an unearned run,” said Peavy, who has lost his last five decisions dating to May 1.

“We didn’t execute. I don’t feel sorry for myself one bit. I’ve got to get better and win games.”

He’s not Boston’s best starter (1-5, 4.52 ERA) and he won’t get style points, but there’s a tremendous competitor that lives inside Peavy. And on Thursday he battled and battled the Oakland A’s. No matter what he says, it’s the people around him who need to man up.

The Red Sox could manage only five hits, and yes, we know Scott Kazmir (9-2) was really good.

While A.J. Pierzysnki came within a foot of tying the game on the last at-bat in the ninth, the lineup just couldn’t get it done.

Except for an eighth-inning pinch-hit appearance in which he struck out, David Ortiz rested. His absence made the lineup even weaker than usual.

Peavy was left to have to throw a gem. Maybe he doesn’t have any of those gems left in him, but he still has enough to keep a team in a game.

When you give up just three earned runs (one was let in by Chris Capuano), you should win the game. Too many of these strong pitching efforts by the Red Sox are going by the board.

John Lackey pitched nine scoreless innings the day before and got a no-decision. After a while these types of outcomes get tiring for a pitcher who knows he can’t make a mistake because the offense won’t bail him out. On Thursday night, the defense didn’t either.

These are still growing pains for Bogaerts, who was supplanted at shortstop when Stephen Drew was signed. Bogaerts, at 21 years old, will have these uneven moments probably for the rest of the season. He loved playing shortstop, but the defensive metrics weren’t good to him. He’s been better at third base, but Thursday night’s error was just a bad throw where he didn’t plant his feet.

Bogaerts, along with Jackie Bradley Jr., met with their agent, Scott Boras, here in the Bay Area. Boras said they spoke a lot about being a rookie in the pressure situation that is Boston.

Boras also said that Bogaerts was no longer upset about losing his shortstop job and felt he would be better off at third base in the long run.

As for Bradley, Boras believes his client will get better with the low pitch that pitchers have been eating him up on. In fact, he crushed a low fastball for a double in the third inning.

Bogaerts again struggled, going 0 for 4 and is now in a 4-for-22 dip that has reduced his average to .269. Bogaerts has also driven in only 19 runs and has hit six homers.

Pitchers are starting to figure Bogaerts out and sooner or later he is going to have to adjust, much like Will Middlebrooks and Bradley Jr.

There were plenty of other culprits Thursday, including Jonny Gomes, who whiffed twice while going 0 for 3, and Mike Napoli, who struck out three times and went 0 for 4. Drew went 0 for 3. The Red Sox used two pinch hitters — Ortiz and Daniel Nava — and both struck out.

Maybe it’s a good thing that Mike Carp, who has been on the disabled list with a fracture in his foot, but believes he’s healed and is champing at the bit to get back on the active roster.

Peavy certainly contributed to the loss as he pointed out. Cespedes homered in the third inning, the 14th homer Peavy has allowed this season. He also allowed a double in the fourth to Jed Lowrie, who was driven in by Stephen Vogt’s single.

Maybe Peavy’s right that he and the team didn’t do a few little things that could have turned the fortunes Thursday night. But really, five hits? Just think if they had one more timely one.

“All I know is that we’re 6½ games out of first place with a long way to go,” Dustin Pedroia said.

True, but these are wasted games. These are games the Sox should be winning, as imperfect as Peavy was. No, it was not Peavy’s fault. The blame goes right where it should: The offense.

Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.
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