“Let’s play two!” The A’s and Rays split a Saturday twinbill in Tampa Bay

by Charlie O. Mallonee

MLB: Game One-Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
Sonny Gray worked hard but could not come up with a win for the A’s on Saturday Photo: Kim Klement USA Today Sports

The Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays honored the memory of the great Ernie Banks today by playing two the old fashion way. The teams played a true doubleheader where fans were able to watch two games for the price of one.

There are many baseball people who believe that having more doubleheaders would be beneficial for the game because it would help to shorten the season. Angels manager Mike Scioscia likes the idea of shortening the season to 154 games with one doubleheader per month scheduled for every team. “I would trade anything to get this game more seasonal and finish in October,” said Scioscia back in 2015.

Even if Major League Baseball decided to implement a schedule that included six doubleheaders per each season, most the twinbills would not be tradition two-for-one ticket games. In today’s sports economy, MLB owners would almost certainly insist on “day-night” doubleheaders where the stadiums are cleared and tickets must be purchased for each game.

So much for the romantic idea of returning to the days of Hall of Famer Ernie Banks and “Let’s play two!”.

Speaking of Mr. Cub – at the end of this story there will be an answer to a trivia question about playing two games on one day for you. How many doubleheaders did Ernie Banks play in both games of during his 19-year major league career?

Game One 

MLB: Game One-Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays wore throwback uniforms in game one. Those are truly forgettable outfits. Photo: Kim Klement USA Today Sports

The Rays used game one as a “throwback game” donning uniforms from their first year in Tampa Bay for the contest. The Athletics were looking to bounce back after 13-4 crushing loss that they suffered on Friday night.

Oakland entered the game with an 8-21 road record – the second worst in the major leagues. If the A’s are to ever even their record at .500 to have a chance making a run for a Wild Card spot, they have to start winning more games on the road.

That did not happen in game one on Saturday.

The A’s had their number one starter in Sonny Gray on the mound in the opening game. Gray went 6.0-innings giving up five runs but only two were earned due to two errors committed by the Athletics. Gray actually committed one of the errors himself on an errant throw to first base. The Rays collected nine hits off Gray while he struck out 10 and walked just one batter. He did not figure into the decision.

Erasmo Ramirez started for the Rays and he also struggled in his outing. He lasted 5.1-innings allowing three runs (all earned) on 10 hits. Ramirez struck out six and walked one. It was also a no-decision game for him.

MLB: Game One-Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
Chad Pinder tags out Logan Morrison on a steal attempt. Photo: Kim Klement USA Today Sports

Even though they took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second, the A’s trailed the Rays 5-4 as they headed to the top of the ninth. Khris Davis led off the ninth by striking out. Yonder Alonso then hit his 11th double of the season off reliever Alex Colome. Rajai Davis came in as a Pinch-runner for Alonso. DH Ryon Healy hit a double (16) to left field that drove Davis home to tie the game at 5-5. The inning would end with the potential go ahead run in Healy stranded at third base.

Ryan Madson set the Rays down in order in the bottom of the ninth and it was on to extra innings.

Tampa Bay brought in reliever Austin Pruitt to face Oakland in the top of the 10th. He kept the A’s from scoring and the game remained tied as it went to the bottom of the 10th.

Liam Hendriks took the ball for the A’s and gave up a single to the Rays leadoff hitter – Peter Bourjos. With Evan Longoria at bat, Hendriks threw a wild pitch that moved Bourjos to second. Longoria then hit a single to left that drove Bourjos home to score the winning run. The Rays won the game 6-5.

The good news was the A’s had only 45 minutes to think about the loss because they would have been deeply distressed by some of the numbers. They committed two errors. Errors have been the bane of this team’s existence. The A’s had 16 hits to go with two walks and left 13 men of base. The loss dropped their road record to 8-22 for the year.

The good news was game two was less than hour away from first pitch.

Jaycob Brugman who was held hitless in his firs professional game on Friday night went 2-for-4 with a walk in this game. Joyce, Lowrie, Davis, Alonso and Healy also had a multi-hit games in the opener.

Game Two

MLB: Game Two-Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
Yonder Alonso continues to be hot with the bat Photo: Kim Klement USA Today Sports

The bad news was the A’s lost the first game. The good news was they had the very hot Sean Manaea on the mound for game number two. The key question was would the A’s be able to provide the run support Manaea would need win the game.

Manaea was definitely up to the task. He put in a quality start working 7.0-innings giving up two runs (both earned) on six hits (one home run). The lefty struck out five and walked just two Rays. Manaea earned the win and his record improved to 6-3 for 2017.

Manaea also received the run support that he needed. The A’s scored their first run in the first inning and they would never trail in the game. They scored another run in the second, one in the sixth, three in seventh and one more run in the ninth inning.

MLB: Game Two-Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
Ryon Healy hit his 14th home run of the year in Game 2 on Saturday Photo: Kim Klement USA Today Sports

Six of the Oakland batters had a multi-hit game. Yonder Alonso went 4-for-5 with run scored and an RBI in the game. Khris Davis was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Ryon Healy went 2-for-5 hitting his 14th home run of the season to go with two runs scored. Chad Pinder had a 2-for-5 day with a home run (8). Josh Phegley also had a 2-for-5 game hitting his third home run of the season. Jaycob Brugman stayed hot as he went 2-for-3 with two RBI in game two.

The Rays scored two runs on six hits.

The A’s road record improved to 9-22. Oakland remains in last place in the American League West with a record of 27-35, 16.5 games back of Houston and two games back of fourth place Texas.

Up Next

The A’s and Rays wrap up the three day – four game series on Sunday. Jesse Hahn (2-4, 3.40) will start for Oakland while Tampa Bay will counter  with Chris Archer (4-4, 3.65). The first pitch is scheduled for 10:10 a.m. PDT.

Oh yes, the answer to our Ernie Banks question

Rays Banks 2
Mr. Cub will always look like this in my memories of him

Ernie Banks played in both games of 318 doubleheaders over 19-years in the major leagues. No wonder he said, “Let’s play two!”

 

The Tampa Bay Rays down the A’s; Gray shelled for nine hits and seven runs

by Jerry Feitelberg

AP photo: Oakland A’s pitcher Sonny Gray got lit up by the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night at the Oakland Coliseum here Gray delivers a pitch in the first inning

OAKLAND–The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the A’s  7-3 Thursday night at the Oakland Coliseum behind the strong pitching of lefty Matt Moore. The A’s Sonny Gray had another tough outing, and he absorbed his ninth loss of the season. A’s manager Bob Melvin said that Gray was tinkering with some of his pitches to regain his command.  Melvin remarked that he feels Gray still has great “stuff” and that he is confident that he will regain the form that he had the last three years.

The Rays grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first. Logan Forsythe singled to right leading off the game. He advanced to third on two successive ground outs. DH Corey Dickerson singled to drive in Forsythe. With two out in the second, the Rays first baseman Tim Beckham, hitting just .213, sent  a Sonny Gray pitch into the seats in left field a for his fourth home run of the year. Rays lead 2-0 in the middle of the second. The A’s stormed back in their half of the inning. With two out and men on at first and second, Jake Smolinski hit his fifth dinger of the year to put Oakland in the lead 3-2. The ball hit the top of the fence and then bounced over. Had it bounced back to the field of ply, the umps may have ruled it a double.

Corey Dickerson tied the game at three with a leadoff opposite field solo home run. It was Dickerson’s fourteenth of the year.  The Rays scored four runs on five hits in the top of the fifth to take a 7-3 lead. Five straight hits and a sac fly made life miserable for Gray in the fifth. The A’s failed to score in the bottom of the fifth and Sonny is done for the night. Sonny’s line for the night is five innings pitched, nine hits allowed, seven runs all earned.

Game Notes- The A’s are 4-3 since the All-Star break and fell to 7-10 in July. The A’s are now 42-54 for the season. The Rays improved to 38-57. Both teams are in last place in their respective divisions.

Sonny Gray is 4-9 for the year and 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA since coming off the DL on June 5th. Gray has won just one game since April 22nd. Jake Smolinski had the big knock of the night for Oakland when he hit a three-run dinger in the second inning.

The Rays have won three consecutive games for the first time since June 12-15. Matt Moore is 4-3 with a 2.68 ERA over his last eight starts.

Game two of the four-game series will be played Friday night in Oakland. Game time will be 7:05 PM. Lefty Sean Manaea will be on the hill for Oakland, and righty Jake Odorizzi will handle the pitching chores for Tampa Bay.

Time of game was two hours and forty-six minutes, and 14,412 fans watched the A’s go down to defeat.

A’s beat Rays 7-6 in comeback victory

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
Oakland Athletics third baseman Danny Valencia Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics (16-22) closed out their nine-game road trip on a high note with a 7-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays (16-19) on Sunday. The victory also gave the A’s the series win two games to one.

Trailing the Rays 6-5 with two out in the top of the ninth inning the Athletics played like a team that refused to lose. With two out, Billy Burns hit a 1-2 pitch into center field for a double. That brought Danny Valencia to the plate. Valencia had already hit two home runs in the game. Valencia hit the first pitch to him from reliever Steve Geltz over the left center field wall for a two-run home and gave the A’s a 7-6 lead.

Oakland closer Ryan Madson came on in the bottom of the ninth and needed just four ptiches to retire the side and preserve the win for the A’s. It was save number 10 of the season for Madson.

This is a significant win for the A’s for three reasons. First, they won a game on day when their pitching ace Sonny Gray did not have a great outing. Second, the A’s had to come from behind to win on Sunday proving to themselves they can fight their way back into games. Third, Oakland won a one-run game. For whatever reason, this is a team that finds itself in one-run games frequently. The Sunday win works as a reminder they can win those close game.

In the batter’s box

Danny Valencia was the man with the bat today for the Athletics. He hit three home runs on Sunday to bring his total to five for the series in Tampa Bay and for the season to date. Valencia drove in five runs and scored three. He hit in the number three spot Sunday as Josh Reddick was given the day off versus a left-handed starter.

Coco Crisp played center field and hit lead off Sunday. Crisp went 3-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored.

With Reddick given the day off, Billy Burns played right field. Burns went 1-for-5 with one run scored. That one hit was the double in the top of the ninth that kept the inning alive for Valencia to hit what became the game-winning home run.

Chris Coghlan was brought in to pinch hit for Tyler Ladendorf in the top the seventh inning. Coghlan took a 0-1 pitch over the left center field wall for his fifth home run of the year.

The A’s scored seven runs on 12 hits while leaving six men on base. They struck out eight times and walked twice.

Brandon Guyer was the leader at the plate for the Rays on Sunday. He had a lead off home run in the bottom of first inning off Sonny Gray to tie the game at 1-1. Guyer came to bat in the bottom of the second with two runners on when the inning was extended by a two-out error. Guyer hit the ball into the left field stands for a three-run home run. Guyer finished with five RBI on the day.

Evan Longoria went 2-for-4 for the game. Longoria hit his seventh home run and a double on Sunday.

The Rays scored six runs on six hits and left four runners on base. Rays batters struck out nine times and walked two times.

On the mound

A’s starter Sonny Gray had another tough outing on Sunday. Gray has not recorded a win in his last four starts. He had a no decision on Sunday. Gray worked 5.2-innings giving up six runs (three earned) on six hits. He struck out four and walked two. Gray gave up three home runs (Guyer 2, Longoria). He threw 99 pitches (67 strikes). Gray’s ERA now stands at 5.84.

The A’s bullpen came in and did the job for their team on Sunday. Ryan Dull relieved Gray in the sixth and worked 1.1-innings. Dull allowed no runs or hits. He struck out four and walked none.

John Axford pitched the eighth inning for Oakland. Axford gave up no runs, no hits, no walks and struck out one. Axford (3-1) is credited with the win as he was pitcher of record when the A’s scored in the top of the ninth.

Ryan Madson threw a perfect ninth inning needing just four pitches to retire the side. Madson now has 10 saves for the A’s.

Defense

The A’s were able to overcome a defensive miscue that took place in the bottom of the second inning. With two out and catcher Hank Conger at bat, the A’s defense went into a shift overloading the infield to the right. Second baseman Tyler Ladendorf was playing in shallow right field. Conger hit the ball to where the second baseman would normally be stationed. Ladendorf charged the ball and was unable to field it. Conger was safe. The next hitter Guyer hit a three-run home run. The error resulted in three unearned runs.

The A’s lead the American League in errors with 28.

Up next

The A’s return home to begin a three-game home series with the Texas Rangers on Monday night. LHP Derek Holland (3-2, 6.09) will start for Texas while the A’s will go with LHP Sean Manaea (0-1, 11.37).

On Tuesday, Texas will send LHP Cole Hamels to the mound to face the A’s LHP Eric Surkamp.

In the finale on Wednesday afternoon, LHP Martin Perez will start for the Rangers while LHP Rich Hill will take the hill for Oakland.

 

 

Preview of the A’s -Rays Series in Tampa Bay

by Jerry Feitelberg

photo credit sbnation.com: Oakland A’s pitcher Sonny Gray is having his struggles of late

The A’s are off Thursdays as they are traveling to the Tampa St.Petersburg area to play the final three games of the nine-game road trip. The A’s are 1-5 on the trip, and things are not going well for the Oaktown boys. The starting rotation is a trainwreck right now. The A’s ace, Sonny Gray, is not pitching well and needs to get back on track soon.Gray’s record is 3-4, and his ERA is 6.00 Kendall Graveman has been rocked in his last three starts and may be in jeopardy of being sent to the bullpen as the long relief guy or, perhaps, sent  to Nashville, to get his game back on track. His record is 1-4, and his ERA is 5.74 Righty Jesse Hahn started the season in Nashville, called back to Oakland and pitched well in one game and not-so-well in another is back in Nashville trying to find the recipe for success. Lefty Sean Manaea, the prospect the A’s received when they traded Ben Zobrist to Kansas City, has made three starts, and his performance indicates that he may not be ready to pitch at the Major League level. His record is 0-1, but his ERA is an astounding 11.37. Lefty Eric Surkamp does not appear to be the answer in the starting rotation either. Surkamp is 0-3, and his ERA is 6.55.  The only consistent performer the A’s have is the veteran Rich Hill. Hill has made seven starts and owns a record of 4-3 and a very respectable ERA of 2.39. Hill is scheduled to pitch against the Rays’Jake Odorizzi Friday night. Jarred Parker, Felix Doubront, Chris Bassit, and Liam Hendricks are all on the DL. Position players Mark Canha and Jed Lowrie are also on the 15-day DL. A’s manager Bob Melvin has had to get imaginative in his lineups. Danny Valencia is also hurt. Melvin has Yonder Alonso playing third and Billy Butler playing first.

Josh Reddick leads the A’s offense.  Reddick has been very reliable so far this season. Reddick, however, will be a free agent at the end of the year, and he may find himself a new home for the 2017 season. The A’s could continue their pattern of trading him before the trade deadline to get more prospects, or they could give him a qualifying offer of over 16 million dollars for one year. The A’s probably think that Josh will reject the QO and then the A’s would receive a draft pick if some other club signed him. The A’s have another trade chip. However, the A’s have been adamant saying that Sonny Gray will not be traded. Sonny doesn’t cost the A’s a lot of money yet but he will in a couple of years.

The Tampa Bay Rays are almost a mirror image of the A’s. They play in a ballpark that is a nightmare. They are the only team in baseball that plays in an indoor stadium. Balls are lost in the lights, or they land on catwalks. Attendance is also the pits in St. Petersburg. The Rays would like to move but have a lease with the stadium that expires in 2027.

The Rays made the 2008 World Series with pitchers such as James Shields and David Price. Shields is now in San Diego, and Price is in Boston. Their lineup is made up of players that are either prospects or journeymen. The team is led by the veteran third baseman Evan Longoria. Longoria is hitting just .233 but has six home runs and seventeen RBIs. Right fielder Steve Souza, Jr has a batting average of .252, and he has eight dingers and fifteen RBIs. Left fielder Desmond Jennings is hitting a buck sixty-three and center fielder Kirk Kiermaier is just above the Mendoza line at .208. Brad Miller is the shortstop. Logan Forsythe plays second for the Rays, and the other Logan(Morrison) is at first. Forsythe is leading the club in hitting with an average of .308 but is listed as day-to-day due to a shoulder bruise. Curt Casali and the ex-Angel Hank Conger handle the catching chores.

The Rays, like the A’s, have prided themselves on good pitching.  However, the rotation of Chris Arche, Matt Andriese, Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi, and Drew Smyly have a won-lost record of 5-12 so far this season. Starter Alex Cobb is on the DL and may return later this year. The bullpen is manned by former Athletic Dana Eveland, Erasmo Ramirez, Ryan Webb, Enny Romero, Steve Geltz, Xavier Cedeno and closer Alex Colome. Ramirez has a record of 6-1 and Colome has recorded nine saves. Last year’s closer, Brad Boxberger is on the DL and may return in mid-May as he recovers from core muscle surgery.Boxberger recorded forty-four saves for the Rays in 2015. The Rays record for 2016 is 15-17 and are returning from a swing to the West Coast. The last three games of the trip were in Seattle and the Mariners swept them.

The A’s will send Rich Hill to pitch Friday night. He will be opposed by Jake Odorizzi. Kendall Graveman will pitch on Saturday and Matt Andriese will go for Tampa Bay. The A’s need to get well in Tampa as the return to face the potent Texas Rangers for three in Oakland. The New York Yankees arrive to play four, and they will be seeking to avenge the three-game sweep by the A’s earlier this year. The Yankees are playing better ball as their veteran players are starting to come around.  The A’s then go to Seattle for three and then return home to face the Detroit Tigers. They have their work cut out for them.

 

 

A’s beat the Rays again

by Jerry Feitelberg

A’s beat the Rays again

The rally opossum didn’t show up for the Tuesday night game of the three game series at the O.co Coliseum. The A’s didn’t need him tonight as the A’s defeated the Tampa Bay Rays for the second night in a row. Jason Hammel was trying to win his first game of the year since coming here July 5th from the Chicago Cubs. Hammel did just that as he went 5 2/3rds innings allowing 7 hits and four walks in getting the win. It wasn’t easy but Hammel worked his way out of several jams aided by a couple of double plays in the third and fourth innings. He had to deal with allowing the leadoff hitter to reach first base in four of the innings that he pitched. When A’s manager Bob Melvin took Hammel out of the game, he received a standing and well-deserved ovation from the fans who were so pleased that Hammel did well. The Rays’ lefty Drew Smyly, in his first start as a Ray since coming over from the Detroit Tigers in the big trade that sent David Price to Detroit on July 31st, pitched well and kept the A’s off the board until the fifth inning. The A’s bullpen was fantastic again as they retired the last ten Rays’ hitters in order. Eric O’Flaherty got the final out of the sixth inning and fellow relievers Ryan Cook, Luke Gregerson and Sean Doolittle retired the Rays 1-2-3 in the seventh, eighth and nine innings respectively. Doolittle earned his seventeenth save of the year. Here’s how the scoring came about.

The A’s drew first blood in the bottom of the fifth. Alberto Callaspo singled to center to start the inning.

Eric Sogard laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to put Callaspo in scoring position. Coco Crisp, batting right handed, sliced a single to right field beating the shift, that allowed Callaspo to score. Crisp then advanced to third when the throw from the right fielder sailed over the catcher’s head. Sam Fuld then struck out and that was followed by a rocket off the bat of Josh Donaldson but the Rays’ Evan Longoria

made a great play and threw out Donaldson at first to end the inning. A’s lead 1-0 after five innings.

The A’s scored again in the bottom of the sixth. Derek Norris singled with one out. Big Nate Freiman

lined a double to left field to drive in Norris with the second run of the game for the A’s. Freiman took third when the ball went past the catcher for an error on Rays’ left fielder, Ben Zobrist. Rays’ manager Joe Maddon replaced Drew Smyly with another lefty, Jeff Beliveau. The next batter, Josh Reddick, singled through a drawn in infield to drive in Freiman and the A’s now have a 3-0 lead with just one out in the sixth. The A’s loaded the bases but could not get any more runs on the board.

The A’s bullpen, as mentioned above was fantastic and they sealed the win for Hammel.

Final score 3-0 A’s.

Game notes:The A’ recorded their tenth shutout of the season. Albert Callaspo recorded his first multiple-hit game since July 7th. Sean Doolittle’s seventeenth save tied an Athletic record for most saves be a left handed pitcher. The record is now shared with Alan Embree who did it in 2007.

Coco Crisp was back in the starting lineup and had a hit and rbi. Sam Fuld had a hit and is 20 for 63 (.317) with 8 RBI, 17 walks and nine stolen bases over his last 21 games. Josh Reddick continues to blister the ball. Reddick had two hits tonight and is batting .388(19 for 49) with 5 doubles, 4 home runs, eight RBI, 11 runs scored and 7 multiple hit games in 14 games since coming off the disabled list on July 22nd. The A’s improve their record to 69-43 and they increased their lead to two games over the Los Angeles Angels as the Angels lost to the LA Dodgers 5-4 in LA tonight.

The A’s conclude the three game series with Tampa Bay Wednesday afternoon at 12:30pm.

Sonny Gray (12-4,2.59) will be on the hill for Oakland and Jeremy Hellickson (0-1,3.29) will pitch

for Tampa Bay.

Beane Named Baseball Executive of the Year

Image

Photo credit: oaklandathletics.com

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Oakland Athletics vice president and general manager Billy Beane has been named MLB Executive of the Year for 2013 by Baseball America. He won the Baseball America award in 2002 as well.

Beane engineered a major overhaul of the A’s roster after a 74-88 season in 2011.He traded away three All-Star pitchers (Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey) to stock his club with young talent who have played major roles in the club’s return to prominence.

Beane also made a major trade in 2013 with the Houston Astros that brought Jed Lowrie to Oakland in exchange for Chris Carter and Max Stassi. The veteran shortstop had a major impact on the A’s batting .290 with 175 hits, 45 doubles and 15 home runs. That acquisition helped the A’s finish with a 96-66 record and to win the Western Division Pennant.

Beane has been deemed the master of working a small payroll, incorporating Sabremetrics to select players and building strong clubs without utilizing long-term contracts. The Tampa Bay Rays are just one team that has emulated Beane’s philosophy to build a successful ball club.

Beane has been busy already this winter making three trades to shore up the relief pitching and adding a productive reserve outfielder.

A’s are ‘Hitchin’ A Ride’ on the Sonny Gray express, beat Rays 2-0

By Emily Zahner and Kahlil Najar

OAKLAND, CA—“Pay attention to the cracked streets and the broken homes… some call it slums some call it nice. I want to take you through a wasteland I like to call my home… Welcome to Paradise.” Well, it may not be the most modern or high-tech stadium in the world, but many still call the O.Co home. Sure, our sewers back up on occasion, and we’ve tarped off the third deck, but hey, to A’s fans, this place is our own personal paradise. In front of a 35,067 sell-out crowd on Saturday evening, rookie Sonny Gray (2-2) with a little offensive help from Coco Crisp (3-4; 2 1B, HR), reminded us of just that. The crowds may have flocked to the coliseum to see Bay Area natives and Academy Award winning Green Day on their themed fireworks night, but they were treated to quite the show and reminded of the true passion this team exudes.

In their final game of August, the Oakland Athletics (77-58) and Tampa Bay Rays (75-59) engaged in a pitchers’ duel that saw a total of 2 runs scored on 12 hits. Sonny Gray had another spectacular outing, pitching 6 2/3 innings, only giving up five hits and striking out seven. After a tough outing his last time out in Baltimore, Gray returned to form and handed the Rays their sixth loss in seven days with a 2-0 dominating pitching performance. Gray appeared to be in control of every pitch and knew exactly where to place it. He started out strong to start the game as he struck out five batters in the first two innings. A’s manager Bob Melvin was impressed with his rookie starter. When asked about his performance, Melvin said he was “Great again, in a game like that, both guys are pitching pretty well and runs might be tough to come by and that was the case. And we got just enough and boy he did his job.”

Rays starter Alex Cobb was equally as impressive. Pitching a complete game loss, Cobb only gave up five hits, striking out seven in the process. Melvin knew what he was up against before the game even started, “Cobb has been tough on us. We did well then he started to settle down on us. He pitches backwards. He’ll get ahead of you and it’s hard to think ahead of him. He’s a tough guy to face.”

It wasn’t until the 6th inning that the A’s were able to solve Cobb. After a leadoff triple by Stephen Vogt, Coco Crisp singled up the middle for the first run of the game. Coco added another run to the tally when he homered off Cobb in the 8th to bring the lead to 2-0. Grant Balfour came in to pitch in the ninth, and made things a little interesting. The Rays tried to make a ball game when after a Myers double and walk off of Grant Balfour in the ninth, Desmond Jennings hit a single to center field that scored Myers but Balfour was able to calm down and get pinch hitting Kelly Johnson to ground out to first to end the game.

The A’s are feeling good after tonight’s win, Gray can feel the energy changing, “I feel like we’re playing great all around. Great defense, great hitting, this is a fun locker room to be in right now”.

Oakland looks to keep the good vibes going when they finish off the three game series with the Rays tomorrow afternoon before facing AL West leading Texas in a three game series starting Monday.

Relievers stop Giants

By Jeremy KahnAugust 4, 2013
 
9195111_448x252Despite the fact that the usually stellar Tampa Bay Rays starting staff was unable to get the job done, the bullpen picked up the slack.Wil Myers hit a home run, and four relievers pitched four and one-thirds innings of work and were able to hold off the San Francisco Giants 4-3 at Tropicana Field.

Alex Torres went one and one-third of an inning, striking out two on his way tohis fourth win of the season.

Jake McGee pitched a perfect seventh inning, before giving way to Joel Peralta in the eighth and finally the closer, Fernando Rodney in the ninth to notch his 27th save of the season.

The Rays took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth inning on a hit by former Stanford star Sam Fuld, as the Rays took two out of three from the defending World Champions and have won 25 out of their last 31.

Brandon Crawford drove in two runs with a triple to give the Giants 3-2 lead, but Evan Longoria pulled the Rays even with a single in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Guillermo Moscoso made his first start of the season in place of Barry Zito, who was removed from the starting staff after his last start in Philadelphia.

Moscoso went four and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on four hits and did not fare in the decision.

 

Rookie with the walk-off to beat Giants

By Jeremy KahnAugust 3, 2013
 
wil-myersFans at Tropicana Field came to see a pitchers duel, and they were not disappointed; however it was a rookie who came up with the biggest hit.Wil Myers hit a bases loaded single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning, as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-1.Myers’ heroics was setup by a Desmond Jennings leadoff walk against eventual losing pitcher Jean Machi, then stole second, Ben Zobrist received an intentional walk and then Evan Longoria walked on four pitches and then Myers hit the second pitch he saw from Machi into left field for the game-winner.

Brandon Crawford could have been the hero in the top of the 10th inning, but he struck out with two runners on to end the threat against Fernando Rodney.

Crawford drove in the Giants lone run of the night in the top of the third inning with a run-scoring single.

Zobrist tied up the game in the bottom of the third inning, as he grounded out to score Jose Molina.

Rays pitcher David Price pitched a great game, as he gave up one run on five hits and struck out five in nine innings of work.

Since returning from a triceps injury, Price returned to his dominant self, as in 57.1 innings of work, the lefty issued one walk, striking out 40, giving up 10 runs on 38 hits.

Price’s opponent Tim Lincecum was not too shabby either, as he went seven innings, allowing one run on six hits, walking one and striking out five.