Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Oakland 2 (11 innings)
St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Sean Rodriguez's three-run homer
capped a fierce rally in the bottom of the 11th inning that propelled the
Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-2 decision over Oakland, halting the Athletics' five-
game winning streak.
The Rays appeared on the verge of a fifth straight defeat in the finale of
this three-game set after Oakland scored once in the top of the 11th, but
Desmond Jennings came through with a two-out RBI single off Dan Otero
(4-1) in front of Rodriguez's walk-off blast against Luke Gregerson.
Yoenis Cespedes plated Josh Donaldson with a sacrifice fly in the A's half of
the 11th, two innings after he forced extras with an RBI double off former
Oakland closer Grant Balfour in the ninth.
The game's earlier stages featured a terrific pitchers' duel between A's
hurler Sonny Gray and Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb, who returned from an oblique
strain to limit Oakland to three hits and a pair of walks over 6 2/3 brilliant
innings in his first start since April 12.
Gray allowed just one run on five hits and two walks in eight strong innings
Jennings finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored for the Rays. Donaldson and
John Jaso each had two hits in the loss, just Oakland's second in its last 13
"It's always nice to win a series, but when you've won two and you're ahead,
not being able to close it out is a little disappointing," Athletics manager
Bob Melvin remarked.
With Cobb displaying no rust from his layoff, the Rays were poised to prevail
in regulation. However, Balfour served up a leadoff single to Jaso in the
ninth and walked Donaldson two batters before Cespedes ripped a one-out double
into the left-field corner to easily bring in pinch-runner Craig Gentry for a
Jed Lowrie was then intentionally walked to load the bases, but Balfour
managed to avert further damage by getting Josh Reddick to fly out to short
left before retiring Alberto Callaspo.
Donaldson opened the 11th with a double against Josh Lueke (1-2) and was moved
to third on a Brandon Moss groundout, setting up Cespedes' fly ball to left
that gave Oakland its first lead of the contest.
It turned out to be short-lived, as Evan Longoria singled off Otero to begin
the bottom of the 11th and James Loney delivered a two-out base hit to keep
Tampa alive. Jennings followed with a single up the middle to knot the score
at 2-2 and bring Gregerson on in relief.
Gregerson initially got ahead of Rodriguez, who golfed a low slider on a 2-2
count just inside the foul-pole in left to end it.
"I think that is a win, right there, that hopefully can propel us," said
Longoria. "Being down late and then being able to respond the way that we did
and finally get a big hit right there. Kudos to Roddy, that's a great at-bat."
Cobb began his sharp stint with a pair of first-inning strikeouts and
permitted just one baserunner -- a walk to Callaspo -- from the second through
Oakland finally put the right-hander in a jam when Jaso followed a two-out
single by Coco Crisp with a double in the sixth. But after pitching around
Donaldson to load the bases, Cobb retired Moss on a grounder to keep the
"He was outstanding," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "Having been off as long
as he had, you saw the stuff, the strike throwing, the competitive nature."
Gray nearly matched his counterpart pitch-for-pitch. He was touched for three
singles that loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the third, but
induced an inning-ending flyout from Wil Myers to begin a stretch of 10
straight Tampa hitters retired.
That streak ended when Loney drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh
before being erased on a force play. Cole Figueroa then sent Jennings to third
with his first career major league hit, and Yunel Escobar broke the scoreless
deadlock by lacing a single up the middle.
Cobb now owns a streak of 21 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and hasn't
allowed a run in his last three starts ... Donaldson singled in the first
inning to extend his streak of reaching safely on the road to 27 games, the
longest by an A's player since Eric Chavez had 27 from July 22-Sept. 16, 2005
... The Rays improved to 15-5 this season when their starting pitcher lasts
six innings or more ... Crisp and Lowrie both returned to the Oakland lineup
after missing time with strained necks. Lowrie sat out the series' first two
games, while Crisp did not play in Wednesday's 3-2 win.
05/22 23:17:51 ET
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