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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.