A's go quietly as Red Sox sweep

BOSTON -- The search for what ails the Oakland A's offense continues.

Manager Bob Geren has tried different lineup combinations seemingly every game, and the return of slugger Frank Thomas from the disabled list Friday at least offered hope.

But the A's made little progress in finding a remedy during a dreary weekend in Beantown. The Boston Red Sox completed a three-game sweep with Sunday's 5-2 victory, marking the A's sixth straight defeat and the second consecutive series in which they've been swept.

The A's scored just five runs in three games at Fenway Park and mustered 19 hits. All of their scoring came in just three innings out of the 30 they played.

They'll try to rebound north of the border starting tonight, when they begin a four-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The A's may not provide the most entertaining on-field product at the moment, but things certainly aren't dull regarding their daily operation.

Pitcher Dana Eveland was sent down to Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday morning and fellow left-hander Dan Meyer was promoted to take his spot.

After hopping a red-eye flight that landed in Boston at about 6:15 a.m., Meyer nearly found himself starting for the A's. Dallas Braden was scheduled to pitch but was so sick that he didn't even show up to the park Friday or Saturday.

Up to an hour before first pitch, the A's still hadn't decided who would start. Braden convinced his skipper he was healthy enough to go.

"If you're going to give me the ball at Fenway, I'll take it any time," said Braden, who allowed four earned runs in 3ª innings. "You're going to take my left arm before you tell me I can't go out there."

Sunday's bright spot was provided by first baseman Daric Barton, who turned on the first pitch he saw from Daisuke Matsuzaka (12-2) in the fifth and hammered a two-run shot that pulled the A's within 4-2. It was Barton's first hit since returning Friday from the DL for neck stiffness. It also was his first homer since June 2 and ended his string of 29 straight games without an extra-base hit.