• Summary: Nick Swisher's solo homer in the top of the seventh inning proved to be the difference as the Athletics rallied past the Devil Rays.
• Welcome back: Oakland's Jack Cust hit his first home run in the majors since 2003.
• Figure this: Joe Blanton gave up 11 hits and walked two batters (while striking out six Devil Rays) in 7 1/3 innings of work. Oh, and he got the win to improve to 3-1 on the season.
• Quotable: "He's an incredible talent." -- A's manager Bob Geren on Swisher
-- ESPN.com news services
A's 3, Devil Rays 1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Nick Swisher gave the injury-plagued
Oakland Athletics a much-needed lift. Swisher hit a tiebreaking solo homer, Joe Blanton gave up three
runs over 7 1/3 innings and the A's beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5-3 Sunday. Swisher chased Edwin Jackson with a one-out homer in the
seventh, giving Oakland a 4-3 lead. Swisher had two homers and six
RBIs as the A's won two of three in the series against the Devil
Rays. It was Swisher's first three starts since straining a left
hamstring on April 24. "It really just shows you how good of a player he is, to sit
out that long and come back hot," Oakland manager Bob Geren said.
"He's an incredible talent." Swisher, who hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in Friday's 5-2
victory, hit a 1-2 pitch from Jackson an estimated 445 feet to
right field. "I knew he was sitting on a slider, but I wouldn't change that
pitch," Jackson said. "I just didn't execute what I wanted to do.
It was right there in his power zone." Swisher has seven hits in his last 15 at-bats. Jackson retired
11 straight before Swisher's homer. "He battled Swisher, but he came up big for them," Tampa Bay
manager Joe Maddon said. Blanton (3-1) allowed 11 hits, walked two and struck out six.Huston Street pitched the ninth for his ninth save in 11 chances. "It was a real gutsy performance by Joe and real necessary for
him to what he did," Geren said. Oakland had a short bullpen after a 12-inning game Saturday
night. The Athletics also have seven players, including Mike
Piazza, Mark Kotsay and Rich Harden, on the disabled list. Jack Cust's first homer since Sept. 22, 2003, extended the lead
to 5-3 in the eighth. He is the 15th player to homer in his Oakland
debut. "A home run is always nice, but in that situation, it gave us a
little more of a cushion," Cust said. Adam Melhuse, getting a spot start for catcher Jason Kendall,
put Oakland up 3-1 with a two-out, two-run single in the third. Dan
Johnson had a first-inning RBI single. Jackson (0-5) allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked four. Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton, who started play as the AL batting
leader, tied it at 1 with a homer in the second. It was his sixth
of the season and came in his 94th at-bat. He entered 2007 with
five career homers in 334 at-bats.
Upton went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and had his batting
average drop five points to .371. The Devil Rays tied it at 3 with a two-run fourth. Brendan
Harris, who had the game-winning RBI single in the 12th inning of
Tampa Bay's 3-2 win Saturday, had a run-scoring single. The other
run scored on Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby's two-out throwing
error to first on Josh Paul's grounder.
Game Notes The Devil Rays optioned RHP Ruddy Lugo to Triple-A Durham
after the game. ... Oakland OFs Shannon Stewart (ankle) and Travis
Buck (wrist), both battling nagging minor injuries, were out of the
starting lineup. Stewart was a defensive replacement in the eighth.
... Upton matched a career-high nine-game hitting streak. ...
Athletics OF Milton Bradley (wrist and hamstring) saw a hand
specialist, who recommended a couple more days of rest before
resuming full-scale batting practice. ... Jackson has given up just
two homers in 28 1-3 innings this season.