Series: Game 1 of 3

Oakland leads 1-0 (as of 9/8)

Game 1: Friday, September 8
Tampa Bay6
Game 2: Saturday, September 9
Tampa Bay9
Game 3: Sunday, September 10
Tampa Bay7

Athletics 8

(81-59, 39-30 away)

Devil Rays 6

(56-85, 37-35 home)

    7:15 PM ET, September 8, 2006

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    OAK 204002000 8 13 1
    TB 102200100 6 13 0

    W: D. Haren (13-11)

    L: J. Shields (6-7)

    S: H. Street (30)

    Swisher sweet: Slugger hits granny as A's beat Rays

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Oakland Athletics wasted no time putting closer Huston Street back into a key situation.

    Elias Says

    Huston Street
    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.

    • For more Elias Says, Click here.

    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.

    Game notes

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press