Bob Stanley allowed only three hits in 8 1/3 innings of relief pitching today to enable the Boston Red Sox to beat the Oakland A's, 7-4.

"I was tired going in," Stanley said, "but after I got into the game a little I felt better."

It was Boston's fourth straight victory and Oakland's fifth straight loss. The A's have lost six of their last eight games.

Dave Stapleton's eighth-inning single broke a 4-4 tie and highlighted a rally that included three doubles.

Carl Yastrzemski started the rally with a double to right off Bo McLaughlin (0-2). Reid Nichols ran for him and went to third on Carney Lansford's fly to right. Stapleton then lined a 1-2 pitch to right.

"It was a pitcher's pitch (it was a fast ball away) and I just threw my bat at it," Stapleton said. "I fouled two pitches away that I should have hit, then I got the hit on a pitch I shouldn't have hit."

McLaughlin was making his first start since June 1979 and first ever in the American League.

Rich Gedman later doubled off the left-center field wall to score Stapleton, and Gedman scored on Rick Miller's double.

Oakland got three runs in the first inning off Bob Ojeda. Rickey Henderson led off with a single and stole second and third, his 40th and 41st stolen bases in 42 games this season. He scored on Cliff Johnson's single, and Joe Rudi followed with a walk.

Johnson and Rudi advanced on a grounder, and both scored when Mike Heath doubled to bring on right-hander Stanley (4-1). He walked two and struck out three thereafter.

Boston went ahead in the second. Gedman singled and went to second on first baseman Jeff Newman's error, which also allowed Glenn Hoffman to reach first. Miller's single loaded the bases.

Second baseman Davey Lopes then fielded Jerry Remy's grounder, but shortstop Fred Stanley dropped the throw on the attempted force out, allowing Gedman to score. Dwight Evans walked to drive in another run, Jim Rice's single tied the game, and Yastrzemski's double-play grounder scored Remy with the lead run.

Oakland tied it in the third when Rudi walked and Heath doubled. It was Heath's fourth consecutive two- base hit over the last two games.