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Cespedes to Boston; Lester, Gomes to A's

BOSTON -- Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes was sent from the Oakland A's to Boston on Thursday for star pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes just ahead of Major League Baseball's trade deadline.

The A's, long known for a budget-minded statistical approach that inspired the movie “Moneyball,” have won only one playoff series since reaching the 1990 World Series, which they lost to Cincinnati.

This season, Oakland owns the best record in the major leagues at 66-41 and are a threat to capture the American League title and World Series crown for the first time since 1989.

The reigning World Series champion Red Sox, well out of the post-season chase at 48-60, obtain Cespedes with a year remaining on his contract while sending the A's the talent that might enable them to capture a title in October's championship showdown.

The deal for Lester wasn't the only blockbuster trade to come down shortly before the deadline.

The Detroit Tigers added yet another former winner of the American League Cy Young Award to their star-studded rotation, acquiring pitcher David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-team swap that also involved the Seattle Mariners.

Price goes to the Tigers while Seattle get center fielder Austin Jackson from Detroit and the Rays obtained left-handed hurler Drew Smyly and shortstop Nick Franklin from the Mariners.

The deal was seen by some as Detroit's response to Oakland's move for Lester, giving the Tigers another strong pitching arm to match up against the Athletics should they meet down the road in the American League playoffs.

Left-hander Lester, whose contract is set to expire at the conclusion of the season, helped guide the Red Sox to last year's crown and said he would be open to re-signing with Boston for 2015 even if traded this year.

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz or “Big Papi” tweeted his appreciation: “Wishing my man Jon Lester all the best, Red Sox Nation and the Large Father will miss you!”

Cespedes, who won the All-Star Game Home Run Derby contest this year and last, is batting .256 with 17 home runs and 67 runs batted in. In three major league seasons, he has a .262 average with 66 homers and 229 runs batted in.

Lester has a 110-63 record and 3.64 earned-run average with Boston and this season was 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 21 starts for the Red Sox.

Boston also traded away a starting pitcher to the St. Louis Cardinals, sending off 35-year-old John Lackey for right-handed pitcher Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig.

Lackey has pitched 12 years in the major leagues, eight for the Los Angeles Angels and the past four in Boston, and has a record of 149-114 with a 4.02 earned-run average.

At 56-50, the Cardinals are 2.5 games behind pace-setter Milwaukee in the National League Central division.

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