Huston Street pitched the final inning to earn a save in the A's 8-6 win over the Devil Rays. It was Street's first appearance since Aug. 18. Oakland's bullpen was flawless in his absence, as evidenced by the A's 12-0 record in games in which they led during or after the sixth inning. Athletics relievers posted a 1-0 record with five saves and a 1.52 ERA during that time.
Street, activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game,
pitched the ninth to pick up his 30th save in the AL West-leading
Athletics' 8-6 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Friday night."It was an experience for sure, just getting back out there and
getting competitive," Street said. "It felt good just to get
those juices flowing. "Street struck out Ty Wigginton with the tying run on first base.
He had been out since Aug. 19 with a strained left groin."For having not been out there for 20 days, I thought he was
real good," Oakland manager Ken Macha said.Nick Swisher hit a grand slam and Frank Thomas also homered for
Oakland, which started the day 5½ games ahead of the Los Angeles
Angels. Los Angeles was home against Toronto on Friday night."It really wasn't a pretty win, but all our wins right now are
huge," Macha said.Swisher made it 6-1 with his third inning shot off James Shields
(6-7). It was Swisher's 30th homer of the season, making him the
23rd switch hitter in major league history to reach that plateau."Half the battle for me is putting the ball in play," said
Swisher, who has struck out 131 times in 486 at-bats this season.Thomas' 33rd homer to left came on a fastball from reliever Tim
Corcoran and went an estimated 432 feet. It appeared, however, the
homer actually went farther."Wrong pitch," Corcoran said. "He's comfortable up there.
Being comfortable, that's the kind of swings they take."Oakland starter Dan Haren said Thomas' shot "sounded like an
explosion off his bat.""I thought it was going to hit the roof, to be honest with
you," he said.Thomas drove in three runs. He has 41 RBI in his last 41 games.Haren (13-11) gave up six runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings.
He had lost his previous two starts.It wasn't pretty," Haren said. "I thought I battled. I hung in
there for the most part. I made a few bad pitches and my fastball
was a little erratic, but my breaking stuff was good. I got quite a
few ground balls, which I haven't been getting, which was a good
sign I thought."Tampa Bay got solo homers from Jorge Cantu and Rocco Baldelli.Shields allowed six runs, seven hits, four walks and had two
strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings."My location wasn't there tonight," Shields said. "I made bad
pitches in certain counts. I walked four guys. It was one of those
days. It wasn't my day. It wasn't the teams' day."The Devil Rays have the majors' worst record since the
All-Star break at 17-35. Oakland has the best mark over the same
stretch with a 36-16 record.Thomas hit an RBI single and Jay Payton had a run-scoring
grounder in the first to put the A's ahead 2-0. Thomas moved past
Willie McCovey (1,555) into 35th place all-time with 1,557 RBI.Carl Crawford drove in a run with a single and Greg Norton hit
an RBI double in a two-run third before Cantu homered and Ben
Zobrist added a sacrifice fly one inning later to get the Devil
Rays within 6-5.Thomas extended the lead to 8-5 in the sixth inning with his
481st homer."That was the hit of the night," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon
said. "It didn't totally break the back, but kind of fractured it
a bit. Frank is very, very toasty right now."Baldelli ended Haren's night with a homer leading off the
seventh that made it 8-6.
Oakland OF Mark Kotsay missed the game with back spasms. He
is day-to-day. ... Swisher has hit 25 of his homers this season off
right-handers. ... Baldelli has multi-hit performances in 10 of his
last 16 games.