OAKLAND -- Justin Duchscherer was in a playful clubhouse stare down with teammate Donnie Murphy before the game when the pitcher joked about throwing a no-hitter like Boston's Jon Lester.
A few hours later, Duchscherer nearly did it.
He carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, Ryan Sweeney homered and the Oakland Athletics beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0 on Saturday night for their first series win in their past five.
"I said, 'Those guys don't want none of me today 'cuz I'm going to pull a Lester on 'em,' " Duchscherer recalled with a grin. "In the sixth inning, I was thinking, 'Did I really say that before the game?' "
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Duchscherer (4-3) -- who received some of his early professional pitching training in the Red Sox farm system -- outdueled Josh Beckett and had a perfect game going into the sixth before he plunked Jason Varitek to start the inning. David Ortiz broke up the no-hit bid with a single up the middle with one out in the seventh and Duchscherer said he was "a little deflated."
Duchscherer struck out four and didn't issue a walk in eight innings, allowing just that one hit. Huston Street finished the team's second shutout of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances.
Duchscherer campaigned to stay in the game, but manager Bob Geren turned to Street with Duchscherer at 101 pitches.
"You always hope to finish it out," said Duchscherer, who took a no-hitter through 8º in Double-A. "Every time you go out there you want to go 9. I fought with him a little bit. That's Bob decision. I'm not going to argue."
The 2-hour, 17-minute game was the fastest for Boston this year.
Duchscherer, 30, lost his previous two outings and had all of three career starts in the big leagues coming into this season, then spent a stint on the disabled list with a strained biceps muscle.
Duchscherer's gem came one day before Lester takes the mound for his first start since pitching the majors' first no-hitter of 2008 on Monday over Kansas City. Boston was blanked for the third time.
"He commanded every pitch he threw tonight," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "His command was phenomenal. He did not throw one pitch without a purpose. He kept us off balance. Other than David's hit and his line drive and Youk's (Kevin Youkilis') line drive, we couldn't do anything."
Beckett (5-4) wasn't bad himself. The righty, trying to win consecutive starts for the second time this year, struck out nine for the second straight start to match his second-highest amount this year. He allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings and didn't walk a batter for the second time in 2008, throwing 76 strikes among his 107 pitches.
"It was unfortunate someone had to lose it," Beckett said.
"We don't have many games like this. For what this offense does on a consistent basis, no one has a right to complain about run support."