MLB

Rays offense struggles in 2-1 loss to A's

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)

Alex Cobb did his best to keep Tampa Bay close.

The Rays' offense couldn't provide enough support.

Cobb threw eight strong innings, James Loney had two hits and Desmond Jennings drove in a run in the ninth and the Rays lost to the Oakland Athletics 2-1 on Saturday night.

Coco Crisp had three hits, including a home run, and drove in both runs against Cobb (8-3), who lost for the first time since April 30.

''Obviously the home run to Coco was a tough one,'' Cobb said. ''I felt like I executed the pitch but he's a good hitter and understands how pitchers are trying to pitch him. He's owned me my whole career. I need to find a new way to pitch him, make up a pitch.''

The Rays managed to score 89 runs in the month, the first time they have failed to score at least 100 runs in a month since July 2009.

''Offensively we have to stir it up,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ''We've pitched well and caught it but we haven't hit well. The offense has to pick it up. We've got a lot of it in place; we just need to get it going.''

Evan Longoria, who singled and struck out twice, said it's been a frustrating experience.

''There's no doubt I'm frustrated,'' he said. ''It seems I can't put it all together over a long period. I keep doing the same things but it's eluded me.''

Cobb (8-3) allowed two runs and five hits. He walked four and struck out seven in his longest outing since returning from the disabled list.

''Cobb was fantastic,'' Maddon said. ''We've lost one-run games the last two nights. That happens. We have good offensive players. You just stay with the boys and keep encouraging them.''

The Rays fell for the sixth time in seven games and fell 4 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

The A's and Rays are the top two teams in the AL wild-card race.

Cobb set down 12 in a row after giving up a single and walk to the first two hitters he faced. He had five strikeouts in the first two innings.

Former Rays catcher Stephen Vogt hit his first career triple leading off the sixth. Crisp followed with a sharp single up the middle against a drawn-in infield.

''It was kind of weird,'' Cobb said. ''He's been my catcher a lot in the minors. It was the first time I had to pitch to him. I'm happy for him.''

Vogt thinks highly of Cobb.

''Cobb is outstanding,'' he said. ''The movement on his fastball, and his curve and change are plus secondary pitches. He's a great pitcher and a great person. I'm glad to see he's healthy. That's the No. 1 thing.''

NOTES: RHP Jamey Wright (2-2, 2.97 ERA) was announced as Sunday's starter for the Rays. He'll be making his first start since 2007. ... The Rays brought OF Delmon Young, RHP Josh Lueke and C Chris Gimenez to Oakland and will activate the trio on Sunday, when rosters expand. ... Rays OF Luke Scott (back spasms) was evaluated before the game and cleared to play Sunday. ... RHP Jeremy Hellickson threw a bullpen session and reported no problems. He'll be activated on Tuesday.

Tagged: Athletics, Rays, Coco Crisp

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