OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- From about the time he started driving, Dana Eveland began hearing the comparisons to David Wells.
"If you're a chubby lefty it always gets you the comparison," said Eveland, whose back is covered in an "EVELAND" tattoo.The Oakland Athletics have suddenly found some power -- and Eveland definitely did his part by shutting down Tampa Bay's talented lineup.Eveland pitched a three-hitter for his first career complete game, Jack Cust homered twice and the A's avoided being swept at home by the Rays for the first time with a 9-1 win Wednesday.Jack Hannahan also connected for Oakland, in a game that lasted just 2 hours, 6 minutes. But this was Eveland's day all the way.He outpitched Andy Sonnanstine to end a four-start winless stretch as the A's ended a five-game losing streak in the series. It was Oakland's third victory in 12 games and ended a three-game skid."This is a big win for us," Eveland said. "We've got to win at home. I love seeing these guys swing the bat."The A's have only two complete games this season, and when Carlos Pena popped out to end it, Eveland pumped his fist on the mound. He made sure manager Bob Geren sent him out for the ninth.Eveland (4-3) struck out five and walked one in an efficient 95-pitch outing, winning for the first time since April 25 at Seattle."We couldn't do anything against them," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "They pretty much spiked us."Cust played with Wells and thinks Eveland might throw harder. Eveland struck out Cust in his first at-bat in the initial intrasquad game at spring training this year.Bobby Crosby broke a scoreless tie with a two-run double in the third and singled twice after that. Hannahan hit a solo homer in the fifth for his third of the year, Crosby then singled and Cust followed with a two-run shot. His sixth homer of the year made it 6-0.Cust followed another Crosby single in the seventh with a second two-run drive to center, this time off Jason Hammel. Cust came up big after Frank Thomas connected three times over the previous two games."Home runs come and go," Cust said. "You go through streaks when you hit them and you go through streaks when you don't. Having a guy in your lineup who's hit 500-plus home runs, he's going to hit some."It was the third career multihomer game for Cust and first since Aug. 14 against the Chicago White Sox.Eveland wasn't so focused on his own outing that he couldn't speak to Cust back in the dugout. The pitcher said, "Way to go, Custie."The A's have homered in a season-high five straight games, getting 10 longballs during that stretch. Thomas hit two Monday and another Tuesday to help get things rolling."Frank kind of set the tone there hitting home runs," Hannahan said.Jonny Gomes homered leading off the eighth to spoil Eveland's shot at the shutout, which would have been the first of 2008 for the A's.The Rays were trying for their first sweep of an AL opponent in the state of California. They took all three from the Padres in San Diego in 2004. Now, Tampa Bay will head back to Florida for its longest homestand of the season, 10 games at Tropicana Field.Sonnanstine (6-2) retired the first eight A's batters before Gregorio Petit's two-out single in the third. After Hannahan walked, Crosby lined a two-run double down the left-field line for the lead. Emil Brown doubled in another run in the fourth one day after he lost the ball in the lights on Dioner Navarro's three-run double that led to Tampa Bay's 3-2 victory.Fans were still razzing Brown about it Wednesday, though the play was changed from a three-run error to a hit after the game.Brown doubled again to start the sixth and Kurt Suzuki doubled him home two batters later.Sonnanstine -- who has a knack for being deceptive -- struck out a season-high six batters but the right-hander still saw the end to his five-game winning streak, which matched the third longest in club history. He also lost on the road for the first time this year after starting 4-0. He had been 11-3 since last Aug. 15 -- and only Arizona's Brandon Webb and Chien-Ming Wang have more wins during that stretch."I threw good pitches and they hit them. I threw bad pitches and they hit them," Sonnanstine said.The A's have lost four straight series and things don't get any easier this weekend, when the World Series champion Boston Red Sox come to town for the second time this year. Oakland will see Jon Lester on Sunday fresh off his no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.
Rays closer Troy Percival wasn't available to pitch after experiencing some tightness in his hamstring after Tuesday's outing. ... Pena, who played 40 games for Oakland in 2002, went 1-for-12 during the series. ... Oakland hasn't won a series since sweeping the Baltimore Orioles from May 5-7. ... Tampa Bay left fielder Carl Crawford got the day off and will rest two full days because the team is off Thursday. "I know historically he's responded well to two days off," Maddon said. Gomes moved from designated hitter to left in Crawford's place. Gomes, from nearby Petaluma, started for only the third time in 15 games.