The Boston Red Sox took their latest stride toward assembling a convincing come-from-behind playoff push on Sunday, closing the door on a high note before entering the Major League Baseball All-Star Break.

In defeating, and sweeping, the Athletics before hitting the break, the Red Sox won their fifth straight game, going 8-1 in their last nine with optimistic signs in place as Boston improved to five games over .500 (48-43). Perhaps that’s exactly what Boston needed with a brief break ahead to reflect and prepare for its final 71 games.

“It’s great, it just kind of puts everything into perspective,” Christian Arroyo told reporters after Boston’s 4-3 win, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Obviously it’s always fun to play with a lead and to be up and win by seven, eight, nine runs — it’s comfortable. But obviously, we know how it is (in) playoff baseball, that’s not the case.

“So getting in these games, getting in these high-leverage situations; Joely (Rodríguez) right there at the back end of the game coming in with (runners on) first and third, one out, no runs, that’s huge. That’s the kind of stuff that winning teams do pushing for a playoff run and then once you get to the playoffs. So, obviously, that’s the goal here.”

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The Red Sox, who went 13-15 in the month of June, now hold the American’s League’s best record since June 30, going 8-1 over the course of that nine-game stretch with the offense (hitting .301), starting rotation (2.78 ERA) and bullpen (3.65 ERA) all coming through for Boston.

Hampered again by their injured starting rotation, Boston manager Alex Cora went with an opener — Tayler Scott — on Sunday while utilizing five other Red Sox relievers afterward. That recipe proved to be just enough for Boston to come back versus Oakland, putting the Red Sox just seven games back of second place in the American League East.

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Most importantly, the Red Sox proved to be capable of getting on track despite the many setbacks in place that have anchored them at several points throughout the season. Boston can re-apply this gritty mindset when returning to action Friday night, opening a six-game road trip at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images