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Tampa Bay at Oakland

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Tampa Bay (75-58)010000020381
Oakland (76-58) «00003001x470

Suzuki rocks Rays with HR in return to Oakland

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Kurt Suzuki couldn't have scripted his return to the Oakland Coliseum any better.

A longtime fan favorite for the Athletics, he greeted his old supporters with a three-run homer in his first home game back with the club since being traded away last August, and Jed Lowrie hit a go-ahead double in the eighth inning of a 4-3 win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

"It was pretty special," Suzuki said. "It's awesome. Just being around the guys, I've played with the majority of the guys in this locker room last year or years before. It just seems like I never left."

Lowrie extended his hitting streak to 12 games with his Oakland-record 13th double in August, off Joel Peralta. James Loney had tied it with a double in the top half for Tampa Bay.

Jarrod Parker dueled with David Price to run his unbeaten streak to 17 straight starts, matching Catfish Hunter's Oakland record set from June 2-Sept. 3, 1973. The A's pulled within two games of the first-place Texas Rangers in the AL West, and moved ahead of Tampa Bay in the wild-card race.

Price (8-6) had his five-game winning streak snapped, losing for the first time in nine starts since July 12 against Houston.

Parker came out for the eighth at 100 pitches, but gave way to winner Ryan Cook (6-3) after allowing the first two hitters to reach. Grant Balfour pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 36 chances, leaving the tying run aboard a day after blowing a save at Detroit by allowing four runs.

"I'll take that," Balfour said.

Parker received a couple of early pep talks from Suzuki, who later delivered with the timely home run, which he said "for it to be off a pitcher like Price, who's arguably one of the best pitchers in the game right now, was pretty neat."

Suzuki is living in a hotel, stilly carrying a Nationals bag, and eagerly awaiting his family's arrival to the Bay Area on Monday.

He had more than 15,000 people to help lift his spirits Friday.

"You couldn't write that, you couldn't make that stuff up," Parker said. "He's huge to us."

Oakland beat the Rays for the first time after being swept in Florida from April 19-21. Tampa Bay outscored the reigning AL West champions 17-4 in that series.

With the Bay Bridge closed all weekend, the Rays' team bus left San Francisco at 2 p.m. Friday and didn't arrive to the Coliseum until 3:45. Price opted to take a cab before his start Friday, and it cost him a whopping $202, then tweeted he would take a helicopter Saturday.

Manager Joe Maddon plans to take the BART train Saturday.

Friday got stranger for the Rays when reliever Fernando Rodney briefly got stuck in the dugout bathroom during the game.

"It was a kind of a fun moment," Maddon said. "We kind of rallied then -- we should have kept him in there. A lot of the commotion in the dugout in the eighth inning and part of the rally was someone beating on the door. Finally someone broke the door knob with a bat to get him out. I don't even know who the hero was getting him out. I say he was in there a solid 15 minutes."

For Suzuki, rejoining the A's for a pennant race has worked out well so far. He was cheered at every chance despite his light pregame remarks that he expected "a bunch of boos."

Yunel Escobar hit an RBI single and Matt Joyce a sacrifice fly as the Rays kicked off a stretch with 13 of 16 games on the road.

Second baseman Ben Zobrist had his Rays record 81-game errorless streak end on a wild throw in the fifth. His previous error came May 11 against San Diego.

The Rays ended a 14-inning stretch without a run when they scored in the second, but they are 0-for California in four tries this year after dropping three at Dodger Stadium.

Notes

The Rays recalled RHP Brandon Gomes from Triple-A Durham and optioned RHP Jake Odorizzi to Double-A Montgomery. ... A's C Derek Norris, on the disabled list since Aug. 21 with a fractured left big toe, is set to join Triple-A Sacramento at Tacoma on Saturday for a three-game rehab assignment. He is eligible to come off the DL on Sept. 5. ... Oakland RF Josh Reddick received an injection in his sprained right wrist Wednesday and is now using a splint. "We hope that does the trick," manager Bob Melvin said. ... Rays LHP Matt Moore (left elbow soreness) allowed eight hits and four earned runs in four innings of his first rehab outing Thursday night for Triple-A Durham at Gwinnett (Ga.) He is set to start in Anaheim either Tuesday or Wednesday and expects to have a pitch count of 90-100. "I'm happy how my arm felt," Moore said. "I'm warming up a little slower with my changeup. It really felt good to get back out there."... Maddon is yet to announce his Sunday starter, but did say likely Sunday additions that day will be: OF Delmon Young, DH Luke Scott, and C Chris Gimenez.

 
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Kurt Suzuki hits a three-run homer for the A's in his first game in Oakland since being traded away last August. (USATSI)
Kurt Suzuki hits a three-run homer for the A's in his first game in Oakland since being traded away last August. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Oakland

K. Suzuki
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Tampa Bay

B. Zobrist
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
David DeJesus, RF5110013 .256
Ben Zobrist, 2B4120101 .277
Evan Longoria, 3B4010002 .267
Matt Joyce, LF3001011 .257
James Loney, 1B4011010 .301
Desmond Jennings, CF3100112 .247
Kelly Johnson, DH3010112 .248
Jose Molina, C4010013 .245
Yunel Escobar, SS3011101 .268
Totals3338346  
Batting
2B - Ben Zobrist (32, Parker), James Loney (24, Cook)
SF - Matt Joyce (5)
RBI - Matt Joyce (44), James Loney (59), Yunel Escobar (52)
2-OUT RBI - Yunel Escobar (21)
SB - Desmond Jennings (18, 2nd base off Parker/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Escobar-Loney
E - Ben Zobrist (4, Throwing)
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
David Price (L,8-6) 7643151 3.30
Joel Peralta 1100000 2.95
Pitches-Strikes - David Price 107-75, Joel Peralta 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Price 9-7, Joel Peralta 1-2
Batters Faced - David Price 28, Joel Peralta 4
Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Coco Crisp, DH4110011 .254
Josh Donaldson, 3B4020001 .296
Jed Lowrie, SS4011002 .293
Yoenis Cespedes, LF4010002 .227
Nate Freiman, 1B3000011 .279
   Daric Barton, 1B1000001 .194
Alberto Callaspo, 2B3100001 .260
Chris Young, CF2100100 .189
Brandon Moss, RF3000022 .250
Kurt Suzuki, C3123010 .232
Totals3147415  
Batting
2B - Josh Donaldson 2 (29, Price), Jed Lowrie (40, Peralta)
HR - Kurt Suzuki (4, Price)
RBI - Jed Lowrie (58), Kurt Suzuki 3 (29)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Lowrie-Callaspo-Freiman
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jarrod Parker 7633330 3.59
Ryan Cook (W,6-3; BS,6) 1200020 2.16
Grant Balfour (S,34) 1000110 2.39
Pitches-Strikes - Jarrod Parker 108-66, Ryan Cook 27-18, Grant Balfour 19-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jarrod Parker 11-6, Grant Balfour 2-0
Batters Faced - Jarrod Parker 29, Ryan Cook 5, Grant Balfour 4
Game Information
Attendance - 15603
Game Time - 3:10
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Manny Gonzalez, Second Base - Tony Randazzo, Third Base - Larry Vanover