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Another Thomas home run helps A's outslug Devil Rays

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Frank Thomas has been making the most of his at-bats.

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by Scott Miller
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The 38-year old Thomas homered for the fifth consecutive game and drove in three runs to help the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 9-7 on Sunday.

"I'm not trying to hit home runs," Thomas said. "I want good at-bats and hit the ball hard. Now is the time to step on the gas. We have a special chance, and you don't want to waste any at-bats or opportunties."

Thomas has homered in five straight games three times in his career. It was the first since May 24-29, 1994. He tied the franchise record for homers in consecutive games held by George Alusik (1962), Dave Kingman (1986) and Matt Stairs (1998).

"He's a tremendous example to the rest of the guys," Oakland manager Ken Macha said. "He's carried the club."

Thomas' 35 homers this season also matches the Athletics' team mark by a designated hitter in one season set by Kingman (1984 and 86) and John Jaha (1999). He has 483 homers.

"He's just not missing pitches right now," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "He's hitting everything squarely. He's just hitting his stride and I don't think that stride is going to go away."

Thomas had 30 homers and 75 RBI in 108 games combined during his previous two injured-marred seasons. He has driven in 97 runs this year, including an AL-best 49 since the All-Star break.

"He's unbelieveable," Oakland starter Barry Zito said. "He's locked in. I think he expects to hit a home run every time."

Eric Chavez hit a two-run homer and had a tiebreaking RBI double off Shawn Camp (7-3) that made it 7-6 in the seventh. Marco Scutaro gave the Athletics an 8-6 lead on an eighth-inning homer. Dan Johnson added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

"They're all big ... every hit, every home run," Chavez said.

Oakland started the day 5½ games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels.

Delmon Young had an RBI triple off Kiko Calero and scored on Carl Crawford's single against Joe Kennedy (4-0) as the Devil Rays tied it at six in the sixth.

Calero faced two batters in relief of Zito, and both scored. Huston Street pitched the ninth for his 31st save.

Zito allowed four runs, eight hits, three walks and had three strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The Devil Rays were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position against the left-hander.

The Athletics took a 4-2 lead in the fourth when Thomas and Nick Swisher hit solo homers off Jae Seo. Thomas extended the advantage to 6-2 on a two-run single one inning later.

Seo gave up six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Chavez's 18th homer in the second to put the Athletics up 2-1. He has four homers over his last 63 games.

Young put the Devil Rays ahead 1-0 on RBI double in the first. Jorge Cantu tied it at two on a second-inning homer, and later cut the deficit to 6-4 with a two-run single in the fifth.

Rocco Baldelli became the 10th Tampa Bay player to hit 10 homers this season with a solo shot in the eighth. The Devil Rays are the eighth team all-time to accomplish the feat.

"The Oakland A's are a pretty good team right now," Baldelli said. "This time of year they always play well. They just got the best of us today."

The Athletics are a major league-best 37-17 since the All-Star break.

Notes

  • A final decision on whether Tampa Bay LHP Scott Kazmir (sore left shoulder) will be shut down for the rest of season should come soon. "It's getting to the point where it will happen," Maddon said. Kazmir ended his first session of playing catch in two weeks on Friday after nine throws because he felt discomfort in the shoulder.
  • Thomas moved past Billy Williams into 38th place all-time with 949 extra base hits.
  • Tampa Bay released 1B Travis Lee.
  • Swisher went 7-for-9 with two walks and two homers during the three-game series.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Frank Thomas slams home run No. 35 in the fourth, tying a team record for designated hitters.  (AP)
Frank Thomas slams home run No. 35 in the fourth, tying a team record for designated hitters. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

J. Cantu
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
Oakland

F. Thomas
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
 

Related Video

Oakland Athletics
Jason Kendall, C5000115
Mark Ellis, 2B5120010
Milton Bradley, RF4120101
Frank Thomas, DH3233201
    Antonio Perez, PR-DH0100000
Eric Chavez, 3B5123013
Jay Payton, CF5020004
Nick Swisher, LF3121210
Dan Johnson, 1B4001014
Marco Scutaro, SS4221111
Totals3891597619 
Batting
2B - Mark Ellis (, Seo), Milton Bradley (, Seo), Eric Chavez (, Camp), Nick Swisher (, Switzer)
HR - Frank Thomas (, Seo), Eric Chavez (, Seo), Nick Swisher (, Seo), Marco Scutaro (, Camp)
SF - Dan Johnson ()
RBI - Frank Thomas 3 (), Eric Chavez 3 (), Nick Swisher (), Dan Johnson (), Marco Scutaro ()
2-OUT RBI - Nick Swisher ()
CS - Jason Kendall (, 2nd base by R. Lugo/Paul), Jay Payton (, 2nd base by Seo/Paul)
PK - Milton Bradley (, Seo)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Johnson-Scutaro
Oakland Athletics
Barry Zito 5.2844331
Kiko Calero0222000
Joe Kennedy (BS,; W,-) 1.1100130
Justin Duchscherer (H,) 1111011
Huston Street (S,) 1200000
Pitches-Strikes - Barry Zito 99-66, Kiko Calero 5-3, Joe Kennedy 21-13, Justin Duchscherer 15-11, Huston Street 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Barry Zito 6-7, Joe Kennedy 1-0
Batters Faced - Barry Zito 27, Kiko Calero 2, Joe Kennedy 6, Justin Duchscherer 4, Huston Street 4
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Rocco Baldelli, CF5331001
Delmon Young, RF5232000
Carl Crawford, LF5121021
Greg Norton, DH4010112
Ty Wigginton, 1B3000215
Jorge Cantu, 2B5133012
Josh Paul, C3010113
   a- Kevin Witt, PH1000002
B.J. Upton, 3B4010003
Tomas Perez, SS3000014
   b- Ben Zobrist, PH-SS1000000
Totals3971474723 
a-lined out for Paul in the 9th
b-lined out for T. Perez in the 8th
Batting
2B - Delmon Young (, Zito)
3B - Rocco Baldelli (, Zito), Delmon Young (, Calero)
HR - Rocco Baldelli (, Duchscherer), Jorge Cantu (, Zito)
RBI - Rocco Baldelli (), Delmon Young 2 (), Carl Crawford (), Jorge Cantu 3 ()
2-OUT RBI - Delmon Young (), Carl Crawford (), Jorge Cantu 2 ()
SB - Carl Crawford (, 2nd base off Zito/Kendall)
CS - B.J. Upton (, 2nd base by Zito/Kendall)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Paul-T. Perez
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Jae Seo 4.1966213
Jon Switzer 1.1100020
Shawn Camp (L,-) 1.1422131
Ruddy Lugo 1000100
Seth McClung 1111300
IBB - Swisher by Shawn Camp
Pitches-Strikes - Jae Seo 81-51, Jon Switzer 14-11, Shawn Camp 34-21, Ruddy Lugo 16-7, Seth McClung 25-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jae Seo 5-5, Jon Switzer 2-0, Shawn Camp 1-0, Ruddy Lugo 2-0, Seth McClung 1-2
Batters Faced - Jae Seo 22, Jon Switzer 5, Shawn Camp 9, Ruddy Lugo 3, Seth McClung 7
Game Information
Attendance - 16791
Game Time - 3:14
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Lance Barksdale, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Dale Scott