American League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, August 31st (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (75-58) at Oakland Athletics (76-58), 9:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Alex Cobb (8-2, 2.87) Oakland - Sonny Gray (1-2, 3.18)
(Sports Network) - Alex Cobb tries to secure his sixth straight winning decision on Saturday when the Tampa Bay Rays continue a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum.
Cobb is 2-0 in three starts since a two-month stint on the disabled list after getting hit in the head with a liner. However, he did not receive a decision on Sunday against the New York Yankees, as he allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 3-2 loss.
Overall, he is 8-2 on the year with a 2.87 ERA.
Cobb is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in four starts.
Oakland, meanwhile, will counter with righty Sonny Gray, who was roughed up his last time out. Gray lasted just 3 1/3 innings on Sunday in Baltimore, as the Orioles battered him for six runs and eight hits, dropping him to 1-2, while ballooning his ERA to 3.18.
"A lot of the hits early were not hard, but they did made him work a little bit later and they made him throw some pitches," manager Bob Melvin said about Gray. "Maybe his stuff wasn't as good, but it was a little bit of a product early on of getting dinked a little bit. I don't think anyone goes through their career without getting hit some. He'll probably be better for it next time around."
Oakland moved past the Rays for the top wild card spot in the AL on Friday, as Jed Lowrie's go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning lifted the A's to a 4-3 win.
After the Rays tied the game in the top of the eighth with a pair of runs, the A's answered in the home half.
Coco Crisp singled against Tampa Bay starter David Price (8-6) to begin the frame before Joel Peralta replaced Price on the mound. Josh Donaldson grounded out to advance Crisp to second before Lowrie tugged a double down the right- field line to bring home Crisp to make it 4-3.
Grant Balfour fired a scoreless ninth to notch his 34th save of the season for Oakland, which has won four of its last five games to get within two games of the Texas Rangers for AL West lead.
The A's also moved one-half game ahead of Tampa Bay for the AL's first Wild Card spot.
Kurt Suzuki smacked a three-run homer, his first long ball since returning to Oakland after being sent back to the A's from the Washington Nationals on Aug. 23.
"Suzuki's hit today was huge because it looked like we weren't going to string too many hits together against Price," A's manager Bob Melvin said. . 3, 2012.
Ben Zobrist had two hits and scored a run for the Rays, who have dropped five of their last six tilts.
"Overall we've been playing really well, we just have to get a little bit more efficient offensively," Rays manager Joe Maddon remarked.
Tampa swept a three-game set from the A's earlier in the year and despite Friday's loss, has beaten them in six of the last nine matchups.
08/31 10:27:02 ET