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Tampa Bay at Oakland

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Oakland (77-58) «00000101x250

Athletics get past Rays in battle of wildcard contenders

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Sonny Gray is making the adjustments and turning into a quality starter in just his first month in the big leagues. It's something Stephen Vogt can appreciate.

Coco Crisp had three hits -- including a home run -- and drove in two runs, Gray threw 6 2/3 stellar innings, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Saturday night.

"Sonny is fun to watch I don't care who you are," said Vogt, who hit a triple and scored Oakland's first run. "It's more than the way he pitches. It's the way he bounces off the mound and fields his position. I've been fortunate to have a front row seat for many of his starts. He's an electric pitcher."

Gray (2-2) allowed five hits, walked one and struck out seven and the A's won their fifth in six games to remain two games behind Texas in the AL West.

"The big thing was my fastball command," Gray said. I was able to keep it down. In my last start I was elevating it. Keeping it down was big."

James Loney had two hits for the Rays, who lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell 4 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

The A's and Rays are the top two teams in the AL wild-card race.

"Offensively we have to stir it up," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We've pitched well and caught it but we haven't hit well. The offense has to pick it up. We've got a lot of it in place; we just need to get it going."

Alex Cobb (8-3) lost for the first time since April 30 despite allowing two runs and five hits. He walked four and struck out seven.

"I felt great the whole game," Cobb said. "Obviously the home run to Coco was tough. He's owned me throughout my career. I have to find a new way to pitch to him."

Grant Balfour pitched the ninth, giving up an RBI single to Desmond Jennings, for his 35th save in 37 chances.

Gray retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced, striking out five of the first six.

Cobb set down 12 in a row after giving up a single and walk to the first two hitters he faced. He had five strikeouts in the first two innings.

Vogt hit his first career triple leading off the sixth. Crisp followed with a sharp single up the middle against a drawn-in infield.

Matt Joyce led off the seventh with a single but was erased on Wil Myers' double play grounder. When Loney followed with a single, Sean Doolitte replaced Gray, who received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd.

"These fans are awesome," Gray said. "I've always loved pitching at home."

Gray has allowed two earned runs in 21 2-3 innings (0.83 ERA) in Oakland.

Doolittle got three outs and Dan Otero struck out Evan Longoria with a runner at second to end the eighth.

Notes

RHP Jamey Wright (2-2, 2.97) was announced as Sunday's starter for the Rays. He'll be making his first start since 2007. RHP A.J. Griffin (11-9, 3.94) will start for the A's. ... The Rays brought OF Delmon Young, RHP Josh Lueke and C Chris Gimenez to Oakland and will activate the trio on Sunday, when rosters expand. ... Rays OF Luke Scott (back spasms) was evaluated before the game and cleared to play Sunday. ... RHP Jeremy Hellickson threw a bullpen session and reported no problems. He'll be activated on Tuesday.. ... The Rays failed to score at least 100 runs in a month for the first time since July 2009. ... A's C John Jaso (concussion) has been playing catch and running. ... A's OF Josh Reddick wore a Georgia football helmet and jersey for pre-game drills.

 
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Oakland's Coco Crisp goes for three hits, including a home run, and drives in two runs against the Rays. (USATSI)
Oakland's Coco Crisp goes for three hits, including a home run, and drives in two runs against the Rays. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Oakland

C. Crisp
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Tampa Bay

A. Cobb
IP 8.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 4
K 7
 
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
David DeJesus, LF3000012 .253
   b-Kelly Johnson, PH1000002 .248
Yunel Escobar, SS4000021 .266
Ben Zobrist, 2B-SS4000001 .275
Evan Longoria, 3B4010021 .267
Matt Joyce, DH3010110 .258
Wil Myers, RF4110023 .285
James Loney, 1B3020100 .303
Jose Lobaton, C3010102 .263
Desmond Jennings, CF4011004 .247
Totals3317148  
a-walked for DeJesus in the 8th
b-grounded out for S. Rodriguez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Wil Myers (10, Balfour), Jose Lobaton (13, Gray)
RBI - Desmond Jennings (41)
2-OUT RBI - Desmond Jennings (19)
SB - Sam Fuld (6, 2nd base off Otero/Vogt)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Desmond Jennings 1
DP - Jennings-Zobrist-Loney, Jennings-Zobrist-Loney-Escobar-Zobrist-Loney, Jennings-Zobrist-Loney-Escobar-Zobrist-Loney-Loney-Escobar
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Alex Cobb (L,8-3) 8522471 2.82
Pitches-Strikes - Alex Cobb 108-69
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alex Cobb 7-7
Batters Faced - Alex Cobb 30
Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Coco Crisp, CF4132000 .258
Josh Donaldson, 3B3000101 .294
Jed Lowrie, SS3000112 .292
Brandon Moss, RF3000023 .248
Yoenis Cespedes, LF3000012 .226
Seth Smith, DH2010110 .241
Daric Barton, 1B2000111 .184
Eric Sogard, 2B3000012 .264
Stephen Vogt, C3110000 .244
Totals2625247  
Batting
3B - Stephen Vogt (1, Cobb)
HR - Coco Crisp (15, Cobb)
RBI - Coco Crisp 2 (47)
SB - Coco Crisp (17, 2nd base off Cobb/Lobaton)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Lowrie-Barton
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Sonny Gray (W,2-2) 6.2500170 2.57
Sean Doolittle (H,21) 1000200 3.63
Dan Otero (H,4) 0.1000010 1.19
Grant Balfour (S,35) 1211100 2.52
WP - Sean Doolittle (2), Grant Balfour (7)
Pitches-Strikes - Sonny Gray 102-62, Sean Doolittle 23-13, Dan Otero 7-5, Grant Balfour 23-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sonny Gray 8-4, Sean Doolittle 1-2, Grant Balfour 1-2
Batters Faced - Sonny Gray 25, Sean Doolittle 5, Dan Otero 1, Grant Balfour 6
Game Information
Attendance - 35067
Game Time - 3:05
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Manny Gonzalez, First Base - Tony Randazzo, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Brian Gorman