|Tampa Bay (20-20) «||6||0||3||0||2||2||0||0||x||13||9||1|
The slick-fielding shortstop solidified Tampa Bay's defense during last season's run to the World Series. Now, his hot bat is one of the reasons the team has been able to put together a season-best four-game winning streak and is back to .500 for the first time since mid-April.
"I know he played really well last year. But at no point did I see him play this well," manager Joe Maddon said after Bartlett drove in a career-high five runs in Monday night's 13-4 rout of the Oakland Athletics. "I'm talking a complete game."
Bartlett went 3-for-3 with a walk to raise his batting average to .384. He had a two-run single off Sean Gallagher (1-2) in the first, as well as a run-scoring triple in the fifth and a two-run single in the sixth off Gio Gonzalez.
Bartlett's most impressive contribution might have been scoring from second base on a passed ball in the first inning. Yet Bartlett insisted he was not satisfied with his performance because he also committed a throwing error that helped Oakland score its first run.
"I take a lot of pride in my defense," he said. "It would have been a great day if I hadn't made the error."
Rookie right-hander Jeff Niemann (4-3) allowed four runs and eight hits in eight innings to win for the fourth time in five decisions. He struck out three and walked none in the longest outing of his career.
Jason Isringhausen, who came off the disabled list Sunday, pitched the ninth for Tampa Bay -- his first appearance in a major league game since undergoing right elbow surgery in September, when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals.
"It was good to get out there," said Isringhausen, who had last thrown in a game Aug. 16 at Cincinnati.
"I had nerves, believe me. It started in the second or third inning because I didn't know when I'd be used," the 36-year-old right-hander said. "Niemann did a great job going out there through eight innings. It was a big pickup for the bullpen."
The A's, swept at Detroit last weekend, have been outscored 47-13 during a four-game losing streak in which their starting pitchers have yielded 31 runs (23 earned) in 13 innings. Despite giving up just three hits, Gallagher allowed nine runs in 2 1/3 innings.
"We've hit a big bump in our pitching," A's manager Bob Geren said. "It needs to improve, and it will."
Akinori Iwamura drove in three runs for the Rays, who had at least one stolen base in each of the previous 19 games. After building a big early lead, they didn't even attempt a steal.
The streak was the longest in the AL since the 1914 Yankees swiped a base in 19 straight games.
Bartlett's first two RBI came during Tampa Bay's six-run first. That inning, Gallagher walked Ben Zobrist with the bases loaded, hit the next batter with a pitch to force in another run and later watched two others race home on a passed ball.
On the passed ball, catcher Kurt Suzuki appeared to lose sight of the pitch and was struck in the left shoulder while trying to duck out of the way.
"I lost control of the ball. I feel terrible," Gallagher said. "The guy is expecting the ball to break and it stays straight."
|Jason Bartlett totals a career-high five RBI as the Rays win their fourth in a row. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
Nike Athletics Oaktown 2013 Local T-Shirt - Ash
$27.95 Shop Now!
|Orlando Cabrera, SS||3||1||1||1||0||0||1||.233|
|Aaron Cunningham, LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|Kurt Suzuki, C||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.320|
|Jack Cust, DH||4||1||2||2||0||1||0||.270|
|Matt Holliday, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.261|
|Jack Hannahan, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.133|
|Jason Giambi, 1B||2||0||0||1||0||0||0||.200|
|Landon Powell, 1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.194|
|Adam Kennedy, 2B||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.367|
|Ryan Sweeney, CF||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.250|
|a- Rajai Davis, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.179|
|Bobby Crosby, 3B-SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.224|
|Travis Buck, RF||3||1||2||0||0||1||0||.225|
|a-fouled out for Sweeney in the 9th|
|2B - Travis Buck (2, Niemann)|
|HR - Orlando Cabrera (2, Niemann), Jack Cust (6, Niemann)|
|SF - Jason Giambi (2)|
|RBI - Orlando Cabrera (12), Jack Cust 2 (23), Jason Giambi (17)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jack Cust 2 (13)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Cabrera-Kennedy-Giambi|
|PB - Kurt Suzuki (1)|
|Sean Gallagher (L,1-2)||2.1||3||9||7||5||1||0||8.16|
|HBP - Aybar (by Sean Gallagher)|
|WP - Sean Gallagher (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Sean Gallagher 76-40, Gio Gonzalez 91-54, Kevin Cameron 33-23|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sean Gallagher 2-4, Gio Gonzalez 4-0, Kevin Cameron 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Sean Gallagher 16, Gio Gonzalez 19, Kevin Cameron 7|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|B.J. Upton, CF||3||1||0||0||1||1||2||.183|
|Gabe Gross, RF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.254|
|Carl Crawford, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.327|
|a- Gabe Kapler, PH-CF||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.212|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||5||2||2||0||0||1||0||.345|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||2||3||1||0||3||1||0||.248|
|Ben Zobrist, RF-LF||3||1||0||1||2||2||4||.279|
|Willy Aybar, DH||2||3||1||1||2||0||1||.263|
|Jason Bartlett, SS||3||3||3||5||1||0||0||.384|
|Akinori Iwamura, 2B||4||0||2||3||0||1||2||.291|
|Michel Hernandez, C||4||0||0||1||0||2||1||.258|
|a-grounded out for Crawford in the 6th|
|3B - Jason Bartlett (2, G. Gonzalez)|
|RBI - Ben Zobrist (20), Willy Aybar (6), Jason Bartlett 5 (22), Akinori Iwamura 3 (15), Michel Hernandez (8)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jason Bartlett 2 (7)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Longoria-Iwamura-Pena, Longoria-Iwamura-Pena|
|E - Jason Bartlett (3, Throwing)|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Jeff Niemann (W,4-3)||8||8||4||3||0||3||2||4.97|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Niemann 110-75, Jason Isringhausen 17-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Niemann 11-9, Jason Isringhausen 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Jeff Niemann 31, Jason Isringhausen 4|
|Attendance - 11420|
|Game Time - 2:55|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Lance Barksdale, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Randy Marsh|