Tim Beckham leads Rays to 7-3 victory over Athletics
Tampa Bay Rays' Corey Dickerson, right, is congratulated by third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) after hitting a home run off Oakland Athletics' Sonny Gray in the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 21, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Tim Beckham homered and then sparked a four-run inning with his eighth straight hit over three games to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 7-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night.
He followed up a five-hit game in Colorado on Wednesday by hitting a solo homer in the second against Sonny Gray (4-9) and then adding a leadoff single in the big fifth inning that gave Tampa Bay the lead for good.
Beckham, who started the streak with a single in his final at-bat Monday, was finally retired when he popped out to end the sixth but by then he had done his damage. His eight hits in eight at-bats – he walked in his other plate appearance – were one more hit than he had in 41 at-bats in all of June.
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Corey Dickerson homered and drove in three runs, and Logan Forsythe, Brad Miller and Evan Longoria added RBI hits in the fifth inning to back a solid start by Matt Moore (6-7).
Moore allowed a three-run homer to Jake Smolinski in the second but nothing else in seven innings to earn his first win in eight road starts this season. Moore allowed four hits and went at least six innings for the ninth straight start.
Alex Colome got three outs for his 21st save in as many chances to give the Rays their fourth win in five games. Tampa Bay had won just three of the previous 27 in what was the worst stretch in franchise history.
Gray, who snapped a seven-game losing streak last Saturday against Toronto, was unable to build on that success. He allowed seven runs and nine hits in five innings.
Rays: With Logan Morrison getting his injured forearm checked out and Steve Pearce needing a day off, manager Kevin Cash started Beckham at first base. Beckham, usually a middle infielder, said he had never played first before and planned to use one of Pearce's gloves. ''Go catch the ball and don't make too much out of it,'' Cash said of the advice he gave Beckham.
Athletics: LHP Rich Hill (blister) played catch before the game with protection on his middle finger. He is still not ready to throw curveballs or pitch off the mound. … RHP Zach Neal was recalled from Triple-A Nashville and LHP Patrick Schuster was optioned to Nashville.
A's RF Josh Reddick said he's tuning out any talk about a possible trade before the Aug. 1 deadline, saying the game is hard enough without worrying about things out of his control. But Reddick did say he is upset there hasn't been more progress on a long-term deal to keep him in Oakland past this season.
''It's kind of disheartening to know something hasn't been worked out so far, and we've been four months into it,'' he said.
Rays: Jake Odorizzi (4-5) snapped a six-start winless streak last Sunday against Baltimore when he allowed two runs in six innings for his first win since June 8.
Athletics: Sean Manaea (3-5) faces the Rays for the first time in his career in the second game of the series.