Athletics 4, Rays 2
The first leg of the Oakland Athletics’ seven-game road trip
went just fine.
Brandon McCarthy pitched seven solid innings and Oakland beat
the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 on Saturday.
Chris Carter and Seth Smith homered for the Athletics, who took
two of three from Tampa Bay and moved within a half-game of the AL
wild card-leading Rays. Oakland has won eight of 10 to go a
season-high 12 games over .500.
”I think we just keep proving that we’re not a fluke,”
The Athletics lost 5-0 in the series opener on Thursday, then
rebounded for a 5-4 win on Friday. They open a four-game series at
Cleveland on Monday night.
”This isn’t the easiest place to play, and it ended up being a
real good series for us,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.
McCarthy (7-5) allowed two runs and four hits while improving to
9-0, including three wins this season, against AL East teams over
14 starts since 2009. The right-hander was coming off a rough start
last Monday when he gave up six runs and 10 hits over 3 1-3 innings
in a loss to Minnesota.
”I thought it was quite the recovery for him,” Melvin
After Sean Doolittle struck out two during a perfect eighth,
Grant Balfour got the final three outs for his 14th save.
”It’s obviously a big series for us momentum-wise,” Athletics
right fielder Josh Reddick said.
The Rays dropped to 16-7 in August.
”I give Oakland a lot of credit,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon
said. ”You can’t take anything away from what they’re doing.
They’re playing good baseball. They’re playing with a lot of energy
so I give them credit. But we have to be better.”
Carter hit a two-run shot off Jeremy Hellickson (8-9), helping
Oakland take a 3-0 lead in the first. Coco Crisp scored the first
run of the game from third when catcher Jose Lobaton made an errant
throw to second on Stephen Drew’s stolen base.
”I could have got out of it … it’s pretty frustrating,”
Smith put the Athletics up 4-1 with his 12th homer in the
The Rays loaded the bases with no outs during the second, but
only managed one run on Lobaton’s sacrifice fly. They also got a
solo homer from Desmond Jennings in the fifth.
Hellickson yielded six hits, struck out five and walked none in
Tampa Bay reliever J.P. Howell extended his team-record shutout
streak to 26 2-3 consecutive innings after pitching a scoreless
Both teams will have a rare Sunday off because Tropicana Field
is one of the venues being used for the Republican National
According to the Rays, Oakland and Seattle did not play the
first Sunday this season (April 8) due in part to opening the
regular season in Japan. Before that, the last time there wasn’t a
game scheduled on a Sunday was Sept. 10, 1995, when San Diego and
St. Louis were off because of a scheduling conflict with the NFL’s
St. Louis Rams at Busch Stadium.
NOTES: Reddick, who began the day mired in 14-for-94 slide, was
dropped from third to sixth in the lineup. ”Anytime a guy goes
through some struggles, you want to change it up a little bit,”
Melvin said. ”We expect him back in the three-spot before long.”
Reddick went 3 for 4, including a double. … Hellickson threw 41
pitches in the first. … Carter has hit eight of 11 homers this
season on the road. … The Rays allowed four or more runs in
consecutive games for the first time since July 7-8 against