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Red Sox 3, Athletics 2

Kiké Hernández cuts down A’s in 10th inning, Red Sox win eighth straight

Sox catcher Christian Vazquez tagged out Seth Brown on perfect throw by Kiké Hernandez (not pictured) in the 10th.Ezra Shaw/Getty

OAKLAND, Calif. — The ball was still in the air as the runner tagged up at third base. The game hung in the balance on what would happen next in the bottom of the 10th inning.

But Red Sox manager Alex Cora saw it coming.

“He’s out! He’s out!” Cora said in the dugout to third base coach Carlos Febles in an excited mix of English and Spanish. “He’s out!”

Kiké Hernández made the catch coming in and used his momentum to fire a one-hop strike to the plate. Christian Vazquez dropped the tag on Seth Brown and the Red Sox had a double play that helped secure a 3-2 victory against the Oakland Athletics.

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The Athletics were too bold. The Red Sox lead the majors with 25 outfield assists and Hernández has four of them from center field. He was surprised that third base coach Mark Kotsay sent Brown.

“In my mind, in my baseball clock. I felt like I came in a lot. I just wanted to make sure I made a good throw,” Hernández said.

The 52-31 Red Sox have won eight straight and now have a 4½-game lead in the American League East, their largest of the season.

In their return to Oakland Coliseum for the first time in 27 months on Friday night, the Sox overcame a blown save by Matt Barnes in the ninth inning to beat the Athletics in front of a season-high crowd of 32,304.

“It was a great win in a place that’s been tough for us,” Cora said.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings, allowing one hit. He left with a 2-0 lead that the bullpen couldn’t hold.

Garrett Whitlock allowed a home run by Jed Lowrie in the seventh inning. With a 2-1 lead, Barnes started the ninth inning and gave up a leadoff home run to Elvis Andrus for his fourth blown save.

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Barnes sent the game into extra innings and the Sox scored first. With Michael Chavis at second, Hernandez’s broken-bat single into shallow right field scored the go-ahead run.

With Brown at second to open the bottom of the inning, Lowrie singled off Adam Ottavino. Brown stopped at third.

Sean Murphy followed with a fly ball to center and Hernández’s throw ended the threat. Frank Schwindel’s fly ball to left gave Ottavino his sixth save.

Athletics starter Frankie Montas, the former Red Sox prospect, didn’t allow a hit over the first three innings.

He walked Xander Bogaerts to open the fourth inning. Rafael Devers followed within a sinking live drive to left field. Tony Kemp broke in and tried to make a diving catch, but the ball skipped by him and rolled. And rolled. And rolled some as Bogaerts came all the way around to score on a double.

Danny Santana singled to open the fifth inning. Montas hit Chavis with a pitch before getting Hernández to ground into a double play.

Alex Verdugo singled down the third base line to drive in Santana.

The Sox loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth inning as Devers and Renfroe singled and Santana walked. J.B. Wendelken, another former Red Sox prospect, came in and Chavis fouled out swinging at the first pitch.

The Athletics advanced only one runner into scoring position against Rodriguez. That came in the second inning when Chad Pinder reached on an error by Gonzalez at third base and moved up to second on a groundout.

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With two outs, Schwindel grounded a ball into the hole at shortstop. Pinder would have scored easily if not for Bogaerts making a diving stop. He had no play on Schwindel but saved the run.

Rodriguez then struck out Kemp swinging at a sinker.

Rodriguez retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced, the final eight in a row. He struck out six and walked two.

“Eduardo was amazing,” Cora said.

The 52-31 Red Sox have won eight straight and now have a 4½-game lead in the American League East, their largest of the season.

After an eight-game stretch that saw him go 0-4 with a 7.4 earned run average, Rodriguez has allowed two runs over 12 innings in his last two starts and struck out 14 with two walks.

“I would say with every start I’m getting better,” Rodriguez said.


Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.