- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - It was only two years ago that there were questions about whether Jackie Bradley Jr. could perform consistently at the major league level.

Two months into the best offensive start to a season in his career, he continues to prove a lot of people wrong.

Bradley had two home runs and six RBIs to extend his hitting streak to 17 games, and the Boston Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 13-3 win on Wednesday night.

Bradley said he’s never doubted his ability to put up the kind of numbers he has over the first two months of this season.

“I’ve been able to do it at every level. I think it was just a matter of time,” Bradley said. “Everybody kind of moves at their own speed. All I could constantly do was just work. No need to get mad or upset. Just try to get better.”

Boston scored six runs in the first four innings and then had four more in the fifth to post its third straight game with at least 10 runs. Dustin Pedroia added a home run and the Red Sox finished with a season-high 17 hits.

For the series Bradley finished 8 for 14 with three homers and 13 RBIs. The Red Sox outscored the Athletics 40-15.

“The lineup, up and down, it’s a relentless group and they’re not giving at-bats away,” manager John Farrell said. “We’re in a stretch right now where we’re driving the baseball.”

Oakland has lost a season-high five straight.

Manager Bob Melvin said nothing went right for his team this week.

“Tough series for us, team’s playing hot, swinging the bats well, doing everything right,” he said. “We’re playing out of position. The bullpen’s in disarray for us.”

Rick Porcello (6-1) got the win, and has now pitched six or more innings in 15 straight starts - extending the longest active streak in the majors.

Eric Surkamp (0-3) took the loss after giving up four runs in just 2 2-3 innings of work.

Bradley also had six RBI in the series opener on Monday.

The Athletics have now allowed 11 or more runs in each of their last four games, the longest such streak in franchise history.

Boston has thrived early in games this season and entered Wednesday having outscored its opponents 38-11 in the first inning. This time it took an inning before its bats came to life.

Bradley started it off with his first home run off the roof of Red Sox’s bullpen that put Boston in front 3-1. It was his second home run of the series and fifth during his streak.

Oakland tied it in the third inning with Khris Davis’s two-run single. Boston then came right back in its half of the inning to retake the lead for good on Chris Young’s RBI double off Fenway’s green monster.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: INF Danny Valencia was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday and appeared in two games before leaving Monday’s opener against Boston because of tightness in his left hamstring after one at-bat. Melvin said Valencia is making progress, but they don’t want to rush him.

Red Sox: Farrell said the window for the return RHP Joe Kelly (right shoulder impingement) and LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (right knee) from the disabled list could be somewhat tricky because of a few oddly placed off days for Boston on May 19 and 23. Kelly pitched a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket Wednesday and Rodriguez next one is set for Friday.

STREAK WATCH

Bradley now has sole possession of the second-longest hitting streak in the majors this season. Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer’s had an 18-game streak that ended last month.

SPECIAL MOMENT

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out Wednesday by Maverick Schutte, a 6-year-old with a congenital heart defect. David Ortiz met Schutte, who has endured more than 30 surgeries for his ailment, prior to the Red Sox’s April 29 game against the Yankees and promised him that he’d hit a home run for him. He did in a 4-2 win.

Schutte, with Ortiz serving as his catcher, went into a windmill windup before delivering his pitch to an ovation from the Fenway Park crowd.

UP NEXT

Athletics: Oakland is off Thursday before heading to Tampa Friday to begin a three-game series against the Rays. LHP Rich Hill (4-3, 2.39 ERA) went 5 2-3 innings in his last start May 7 at Baltimore, striking out five and giving just two hits.

Red Sox: LHP David Price (4-1, 6.75) will be on the mound as Boston’s opens a four-game series against the Astros Thursday. Price is 3-2 in six starts against Houston, with a 2.89 ERA and 49 strikeouts.

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Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower

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