Gomes hits pair of RBI doubles as Rays beat A's

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- A good chunk of Petaluma's population
packed the stands to support hometown star Jonny Gomes.

Tampa Bay's entertaining designated hitter estimated close to
1,000 fans came to watch and cheer him -- and he knows they left the
stadium satisfied with his performance.

Exhausted from all the ticket requests, Gomes still managed to
hit a pair of RBI doubles, and Mark Hendrickson pitched six strong
innings in the Devil Rays' 3-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics
on Sunday.

"It's awesome when all eyes are on you, especially the hometown
crowd," Gomes said. "I was just trying not to embarrass myself."

Aubrey Huff drove in a run with a groundout to help Tampa Bay
win a day after Jason Kendall's roller went through his legs at
third base as the A's scored the winning run in the ninth.

This time, it was the Devil Rays who put up two unearned runs in
the third following pitcher Brad Halsey's throwing error to third.
Tampa Bay won a series in Oakland for the first time and also got
its first victory against a left-handed starter this year.

Hendrickson (2-2) ended a two-start losing streak and won for
the first time since coming off the disabled list after missing
time with shoulder soreness, and the Devil Rays won a series for
just the fourth time this year. Tyler Walker saved his second game
in the series and his third in four chances overall.

It was a nice way to leave the Bay Area in the native San
Franciscan's first trip back since the Giants traded him April 28.
Walker was on the mound at the end of Saturday's loss.

"Not bad, huh?" he said of getting two saves. "Some (bad
outings) stay with you longer than others. Usually it's my rule
that once I take a shower, it's over. It's down the drain."

Gomes was greeted by the huge crowd in a section they deemed the
"Gomes Zone." The San Francisco native, who grew up about an hour
north of Oakland in Petaluma, played back in the Bay Area this
weekend for the first time as a major leaguer.

Little Leaguers from the three teams Gomes sponsors were out in
force, and wearing their uniforms. Petaluma held "Jonny Gomes
Day" on Feb. 11.

"He loves this kind of stuff," manager Joe Maddon said. "He
should be in one of those commercials 'I live for this,' because he

Mark Ellis matched his career high with four hits. He homered in
the third for the first hit off Hendrickson. Ellis' first three
career hits against Hendrickson were home runs -- and he needs one
home run to tie Dave Collins' record of 32 homers by a player born
in South Dakota. He also singled off Hendrickson in the fifth and
had two more base hits.

Frank Thomas hit a solo homer to left leading off the eighth,
the 454th of his career to move him past Gary Sheffield and into
sole possession of 27th place. But Thomas ended the game on a
called third strike that he didn't like in the least.

He let plate umpire Phil Cuzzi know it, too. Thomas is batting
only .188 with six home runs and 15 RBI in his first season with
the A's.

"I thought it was a ball," Thomas said. "Given the situation
with the game on the line, you should get the benefit of the doubt
-- better than ending the game on a play like that. He hadn't called
that a ball all day. ... It's been tough, a tough start for me. One
of the toughest I've ever had. I've got to keep fighting. It's
encouraging to hit a home run. I still have it."

Cuzzi had no comment.

Halsey (1-1), making his second start as a fill-in for the
injured Rich Harden, gave up only one earned run, allowed eight
hits in 5 2-3 innings.

The 6-foot-9 Hendrickson was the second left-hander the A's had
faced this series and they have two more lefties in their next
series starting Tuesday in Toronto.

Hendrickson allowed a two-out single to Ellis in the fifth
followed by back-to-back walks to Kendall and Nick Swisher that
loaded the bases, but Mark Kotsay lined out. That was one of many
missed chances for Oakland, which had won seven of nine.

Swisher reached base three times to extend his streak for
getting aboard safely to 26 straight games for the A's, who played
their AL-leading 13th one-run contest. Oakland scored only six
total runs in three games with Tampa Bay after a 12-4 win over
Cleveland on Thursday.

Devil Rays center fielder Joey Gathright made a sensational
diving catch forward on Jay Payton's shallow fly to start the
fifth, but landed hard on his left shoulder and was slow getting up
but stayed in the game after a short delay in which he was
examined. He fouled a ball into his face in the eighth.

Game notes
Tampa Bay SS Julio Lugo stole second and third in the sixth
for his first stolen bags of the year in his third game back after
missing 28 games with a strained left abdominal muscle. ... Ellis
had only his second and third hits off a lefty after coming in
1-for-14 against southpaws. ... The A's placed RF Milton Bradley on
the 15-day DL because of strained muscle in his right side.