A's Bullpen Implodes In 10-8 Loss To Rays

The A's head home to face the Tampa Bay Rays in a four-game series a few days before the 2011 MLB trade deadline. We provide news updates, previews and recaps through the series. For more on the A's check out Athletics Nation.

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Athletics vs. Rays: Bullpen Implosion Costs A's Series Sweep

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) – Spurred by a seven-run seventh inning, the Tampa Bay Rays rallied for a 10-8 victory on Thursday to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of hot-hitting Oakland. After losing the first three games of the series by a combined score of 26-10, the Rays climbed out of a 5-0 deficit in the first inning of this one, scoring all of their runs from the sixth inning on to breath much-needed life into their 10-game road trip.

Evan Longoria’s solo homer capped the seven-run rally and Tampa Bay survived the Athletics scoring a run in each of their last three innings. Left fielder Desmond Jennings belted his first career MLB homer, a two-run shot in the sixth that started the comeback, and B.J. Upton added a solo blast in the eighth as the Rays improved to 2-5 on their road trip.

Conor Jackson’s two-run homer highlighted Oakland’s explosive first and Kurt Suzuki hit a solo shot in the eighth. The A’s, after heading into the All-Star break as one of the league’s most downtrodden teams, are 8-5 since then. Their three straight wins to open this series included a 13-4 victory on Wednesday.


Athletics vs. Rays: Rich Harden Looks To Pitch Oakland To Four-Game Sweep

The Oakland Athletics wrap up their four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays with a rare four-game sweep. The A’s are riding a hot streak that has them leading Major League Baseball with a .321 team batting average since the All Star break.

Although they lost a three-game series to the New York Yankees, Oakland has otherwise been able to make a dent in their first half struggles. They are currently sitting ten games under .500 as the trade deadline fast approaches. A run at the division remains a bit of a longshot, but if the A’s could win out through the weekend, maybe they hold off on dealing their veterans? If they win Thursday, Friday and Saturday, they’d be seven games under .500. If they’re under 10 games out, maybe it’s worth rolling the dice with what they have.

Coco Crisp gets the day game off on Thursday and the A’s will move hot-hitting shortstop Cliff Pennington to the second spot in the lineup. Manager Bob Melvin continues to bounce Conor Jackson and David DeJesus between the five and six positions, but otherwise has settled in with most of his lineup.

Oakland Athletics
1. Jemile Weeks 2B
2. Cliff Pennington SS
3. Hideki Matsui DH
4. Josh Willingham LF
5. David DeJesus RF
6. Conor Jackson 1B
7. Ryan Sweeney CF
8. Kurt Suzuki C
9. Scott Sizemore 3B


A's Hammer Rays 13-4 Behind Huge Nights From Hideki Matsui And Jemile Weeks

Oakland, CA (Sports Network)Hideki Matsui has been knocking the cover off the ball since the All-Star break. The Athletics designated hitter had another spectacular night at the plate Wednesday, smacking a three-run homer to highlight a nine-run fourth inning in a 13-4 blowout of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Matsui, who had three hits and drove in five runs, is batting .444 (20-for-45) with 17 RBI since the Midsummer Classic. Ryan Sweeney capped the big inning with a two-run homer. Scott Sizemore added a two-run triple in the frame. Jemile Weeks ended 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored, as the Athletics moved to the brink of a four-game sweep of this series.

“It’s about believing in starting over in the second half and putting the first half behind you,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “All it takes is really a couple of games. We kept preaching as a staff we’re a good offensive team, no matter what the numbers looked like in the first half.”

Trevor Cahill (9-9) allowed four hits and fanned six over 7 1/3 innings to snap a four-game losing streak. It was a much different outcome than his last start, when he allowed 10 runs in a 17-7 loss to the Yankees. James Shields (9-9) was tagged for 12 hits and 10 runs over four innings for the Rays, who lost for the fifth time in six games. Matt Joyce hit a two-run homer for Tampa Bay, which lost for the fifth time in six games.

While the Rays continue to falter and are now 11 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East, they did set a record Wednesday night. This was the 705th straight game in which the Rays have started a pitcher under the age of 30, breaking the major league record of 704 set by the 1913-17 Washington Senators, led by Hall of Famer Walter Johnson.

“If we were in any other division we’d probably have a totally different mind set instead of putting so much pressure on ourselves to really keep up with the Yankees or the Red Sox,” Joyce said. “We don’t have that.”

Matsui doubled to center to drive in Weeks in the third and the A’s sent 12 men to the plate in the fourth. Sizemore’s triple to the gap in right-center field plated Conor Jackson and Sweeney. After Landon Powell walked, Weeks blooped a hit to center for a 4-0 cushion.

With two outs, Matsui drove a first offering from Shields over the wall in right for his ninth homer of the year. Josh Willingham doubled and scored on Jackson’s single prior to Sweeney’s homer to right-center. Weeks tripled in a run in the fifth and scored on Matsui’s base hit to center. A sacrifice fly by Weeks in the sixth made it 13-0.

Joyce homered to right off Fautino De Los Santos in the ninth. Desmond Jennings and Johnny Damon singled in runs later in the frame.

The 12 hits and 10 runs given up by Shields equal career-highs…The Rays have lost seven of their last eight away games after starting the season 28-18 on the road…The Rays are 3-for-29 with men in scoring position in this series…This was the first homer for Sweeney since May 4, 2010.


Athletics vs. Rays: A's Look For Third Straight Against Rays

(Sports Network) – Trevor Cahill tries to bounce back from one of the worst starts of his career this evening when the Oakland Athletics continue their four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays at the Coliseum. Cahill lost his third straight start and fourth consecutive decision on Friday against the New York Yankees, who battered him for 10 runs and nine hits in only two innings of work, dropping him to 8-9 on the year to go along with a 3.77 earned run average.

“You try to avoid the big inning,” said Cahill, who fell to 0-4 lifetime against the Yankees. “The second inning was the big inning. You try to regroup and before you know it, I was out there and same thing was happening again.”

Cahill hasn’t fared much better against the Rays, as he is 1-1 against them, but has allowed 10 runs and 15 hits in 10 2/3 innings of those outings.

Tampa, meanwhile, will counter with righty James Shields, who snapped a four- start losing streak his last time out. Shields beat the Yankees on Thursday, holding them to a run and six hits in 7 2/3 innings. The win pushed his record to 9-8, while lowering his ERA to 2.53. Shields has faced the A’s 10 times and is 4-2 against them with a 3.54 ERA.

On Tuesday, Brandon McCarthy allowed one run through eight strong innings to lead Oakland to a 6-1 victory. McCarthy (3-5) scattered six hits and two walks while fanning three in Oakland’s seventh win in 11 games.

“That’s as good as I’ve seen [by McCarthy]. He had the ball down in the zone and good movement on everything,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin.

Cliff Pennington went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored and Scott Sizemore reached base four times, including three walks, and crossed the plate for three of the A’s runs. David Price (9-9) allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks through six innings for the loss. Ben Zobrist’s homer in the eighth accounted for the Rays’ lone run. They have dropped four of their last five.

The Rays took five of nine from the A’s last season, but have dropped eight of their last 12 in Oakland.


Athletics Take Second Straight From Rays In 6-1 Victory

The Oakland Athletics took their second straight game from the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday night, defeating the visiting AL East squad 6-1. Brandon McCarthy put together eight strong innings of work, giving up one run on six hits and two walks. He was supported by a robust offensive effort up and down the lineup.

The A’s offense has been much maligned here, but they scratched and clawed for runs against a normally tough David Price. Jemile Weeks and David DeJesus each sacrificed in runs in the third and fourth innings, respectively. Hideki Matsui and Cliff Pennington each drove in a run with doubles in the fifth and sixth innings. The A’s wrapped up their scoring with a two-run double by Kurt Suzuki in the eighth inning.

Although Ben Zobrist managed a solo home run in the eighth inning, the Rays were otherwise shut down by McCarthy and then Grant Balfour in the ninth. Aside from Zobrist’s home run, the Rays got to second base three times but otherwise never advanced to third against the A’s two pitchers.

The A’s and Rays meet for the third game of a four-game set at 7:05pm Wednesday night. Trevor Cahill and James Shields will meet with the A’s looking to continue this strong run.


Athletics vs. Rays: Brandon McCarthy Faces Tough Test In David Price

The Oakland Athletics look to win their second straight contest against the Tampa Bay Rays as they send out Brandon McCarthy to face David Price. The Rays will actually tie a fairly epic record Tuesday night. Starting Price will mark the 704th consecutive game in which the Rays have sent out a pitcher under the age of 30. This ties the mark set by the Washington Senators from 1913-1917 and the Rays will likely break the record on Wednesday when James Shields makes his start.

The highlight of this series continues to be the young, athletic speedsters Jemile Weeks and Desmond Jennings. Weeks got off to a strong start when he was called up in early June and is currently leading the A’s with a line of .307/.341/.405 with 10 steals. Jennings has been up for three games and has a nice little line of .545/.667/1.000 with three steals. It’s an incredibly small sample size but it’s easy to see why the Rays are excited about the youngster.

Oakland Athletics
1. Jemile Weeks 2B
2. Coco Crisp CF
3. Hideki Matsui LF
4. Josh Willingham DH
5. Conor Jackson 1B
6. David DeJesus RF
7. Scott Sizemore 3B
8. Kurt Suzuki C
9. Cliff Pennington SS

Tampa Bay Rays
1. Desmond Jennings LF
2. Johnny Damon DH
3. Ben Zobrist 2B
4. Evan Longoria 3B
5. Casey Kotchman 1B
6. B.J. Upton CF
7. Matt Joyce RF
8. Robinson Chirinos C
9. Sean Rodriguez SS


Athletics Edge Rays 7-5 On Conor Jackson Double

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Conor Jackson hit the go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning, boosting Oakland to a 7-5 win over Tampa Bay to begin a four-game series. Coco Crisp added an insurance RBI double in the eighth for the Athletics, who bounced back from losing two of three games to the Yankees over the weekend.

Guillermo Moscoso gave up eight hits and five runs over five-plus innings before the A's came to the rescue by rallying from a 5-2 deficit. Michael WuertzBrian Fuentes (2-8), Grant Balfour and Andrew Baileycombined to shut down the Rays the rest of the way. Bailey escaped a jam in the ninth to get his 12th save. Cliff Pennington smacked a two-run homer in the second inning for the A's.

"It can be contagious when you're not swinging well and it can be contagious when you're swinging well," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "If you get one or two guys going, sometimes guys follow suit."

Ben Zobrist and Kelly Shoppach homered for the Rays, who lost for the seventh time in 10 contests. Jeremy Hellickson was charged with four hits and three runs in the start for Tampa Bay. J.P. Howell (2-2) suffered the loss. Shoppach homered leading off the sixth inning, which was the final batter Moscoso faced.

Scott Sizemore lifted a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the frame and the A's went ahead the following inning.David DeJesus singled in Hideki Matsui. Joel Peralta then relieved Howell, but Jackson doubled to left field to drive in DeJesus and Willingham, who was on base with a walk.

"We have to close these games out," said Howell. "We just have to keep on trucking and try not to dig too deep a hole for us. We can get this back together if we all work at it."

Crisp doubled to left-center field in the eighth to score Pennington. Bailey gave up a double to Zobrist and walked Evan Longoria with two down in the ninth, but fanned Matt Joyce to end the game.

Zobrist homered to right in the opening inning, but Pennington went deep in the second. Sean Rodriguez came home on a Desmond Jennings double in the third and the Rays went ahead in the fifth inning. Joyce's fielder's choice plated Johnny Damon. Joyce then scored on B.J. Upton's triple to center.

The A's have hit two home runs or fewer in each of their last 73 games, which is the longest streak since an 86-game run from July 5, 1978 - April 10, 1979...The Athletics came to terms with first-round draft choice Sonny Gray on Monday. Gray, a right-handed pitcher out of Vanderbilt University, was the 18th overall selection in the 2011 draft...Oakland reinstated pitcher Tyson Ross from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento...The A's are 77-46 against Tampa Bay. That includes a 44-18 mark in Oakland...Zobrist had three hits, but the Rays went 1-for-13 with men in scoring position.


Athletics vs. Rays: Guillermo Moscoso Looks To Get Back On Track Versus Rays

(Sports Network) – The A’s hope Guillermo Moscoso can get himself back on the right track Monday when they return home to start a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

In his first outing after the All-Star break last Tuesday in Detroit, Moscoso got off to a good start. He threw 14 of his first 16 pitches for strikes, escaped a jam in the second inning and then retired the Tigers in order on six pitches in the third.

But after he gave up a run in the fourth, the wheels came off in a hurry. Moscoso couldn’t get out of the fifth and was charged with seven runs — six earned — on nine hits over 4 2/3 frames, falling to 3-5 on the season. His earned run average, meanwhile, jumped nearly a point to 2.96.

“I just started missing my spots and you can’t miss your spots in this game,” said Moscoso, who had surrendered just one earned run over his previous four starts. “I missed three pitches up and they made some damage on them.”

A return home could be just what the 27-year-old right-hander needs. He is 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA in four starts at the Coliseum this season, compared to a 1-4 record and 3.66 ERA on the road.

It will be his first-ever appearance against the Rays.

Moscoso will need to be better than Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez was on Sunday when the A’s fell 7-5 in the rubber match of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Gonzalez (9-7) lasted just 4 2/3 innings for the A’s and was pulled during a three-run New York rally. It was the second time he was hit hard by the Yankees this season after surrendering four runs in 6 1/3 innings on June 1.

Sunday, the 25-year-old lefty had his worst statistical outing of the year, allowing seven hits, six runs and three walks while striking out five.

Despite losing two of three in New York, the A’s continued to show life at the plate. They have scored 46 runs in nine games since the break after totaling just 43 in 18 games before it.

The A’s ended their five-game road trip 2-3 and will start a stretch of seven straight at home.

Tampa avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, as Alex Cobb went seven scoreless innings to help the Rays to a 5-0 win.

Cobb (3-0) scattered six hits while fanning a pair and did not issue a walk. He earned his first win since beating the Florida Marlins on June 18.

Recent call-up Desmond Jennings collected two hits, including a double, and Ben Zobrist went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI for Tampa, which had lost three of its previous four games.

Getting the call for Tampa Bay on Monday will be rookie right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who won his second straight start last Tuesday. Hellickson beat the Yankees in that one, holding them to a pair of runs and five hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and improved to 9-7 with a 3.17 ERA.

Like Moscoso, Hellickson has never faced his opponent on Monday.

The Rays took five of nine from the A’s last season, but have dropped six of their last 10 in Oakland.


MLB Standings Update 2011: A's Briefly Escape AL West Cellar

The Oakland Athletics head home following a series defeat to the New York Yankees but have managed to climb out of last place for now. The climb out of last place has as much to do with the Mariners collapse as it does with the A's recent victories. While the A's have gone 5-4 since the All Star break, the Seattle Mariners are 0-10 since the break and have a 15 game losing streak. The streak has dropped the Mariners to 14 1/2 games out of first, while the A's are 13 1/2 games out of first.

The A's head into this week facing the Tampa Bay Rays four times at home. The division-leading Texas Rangers host the Minnesota Twins, the Los Angeles Angels travel to face the Cleveland Indians for three games, and the Mariners get three games at the New York Yankees. The A's may not be making up much ground on the Rangers or Angels, but they have a chance to put a little distance between themselves and the Mariners. It's not the most riveting reason to watch baseball, but for now the A's don't have much else.

AL West Standings

Texas 58 44 .568 0 Lost 1
Los Angeles 55 47 .539 3 Won 1
Oakland 44 57 .435 13.5 Lost 1
Seattle 43 58 .425 14.5 Lost 15

(updated 7.25.2011 at 10:32 AM PDT)

American League Wild Card Standings

New York 59 40 .595 0 Won 1
Los Angeles 55 47 .539 5.5 Won 1
Tampa Bay 53 47 .530 6.5 Won 1
Cleveland 51 48 .515 8 Lost 4
Toronto 51 51 .500 9.5 Won 1
Chicago 49 51 .490 10.5 Won 2
Minnesota 47 54 .465 13 Lost 1
Oakland 44 57 .435 16 Lost 1
Seattle 43 58 .425 17 Lost 15
Kansas City 42 59 .415 18 Lost 1
Baltimore 40 58 .408 18.5 Lost 1

(updated 7.25.2011 at 10:33 AM PDT)


Athletics vs. Rays: Battle Of Possible Trade Deadline Sellers?

The Oakland Athletics return home Monday for a four game series with the scuffling Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays find themselves 9 1/2 games back of the Red Sox and 6 1/2 back of the second place and wild card leading Yankees. The MLB trade deadline is less than a week away, which means Tampa has the next few days to decide whether they'll be buyers, sellers, or holders. If they were to come in and sweep the A's, a climb in the standings could push them further into the buyer category.

The Oakland A's do not face quite the same question marks. At 44-57 and 13 1/2 games out of first place in the AL West, it seems likely they'll be sellers at the deadline. They could hope for a miracle run in August and September, but that would probably be a little foolhardy. They've got some key veteran pieces that could prove valuable to other teams during the stretch run and will likely be fairly active heading into Sunday.

In the meantime, both teams have some baseball to play this week. For A's fans, this series brings some quality pitching matchups worth watching, even if the A's offense may not bring quite the timely pop. The A's were able to bang out plenty of hits against the Yankees this past weekend, but they could not get a couple timely hits that could have ensured a series victory. While a series victory wouldn't exactly lock them into the playoff race, it would been a nice step forward in terms of momentum.

Current Series

4 game series vs Rays @ Overstock.com Coliseum

Tampa Bay Rays
@ Oakland Athletics

Monday, Jul 25, 2011, 7:05 PM PDT
Overstock.com Coliseum

Jeremy Hellickson vs Guillermo Moscoso

Clear. Winds blowing out to right field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 65.

Complete Coverage >

Tue 07/26 - Brandon McCarthy vs. David Price 7:05 PM PDT
Wed 07/27 - Trevor Cahill vs. James Shields 7:05 PM PDT
Thu 07/28 - Rich Harden vs. Wade Davis 12:35 PM PDT

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