ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Oakland Athletics didn't play like a team entering the All-Star break with a losing record for the first time in a decade.
Orlando Cabrera hit a tiebreaking RBI single in Oakland's four-run seventh, leading the Athletics to a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.Kurt Suzuki and pinch-hitter Jack Cust each singled in a run and Mark Ellis drove in Landon Powell with a groundout to set up Cabrera's hit off Chad Bradford."Playing a great team like Tampa Bay and taking two out of three at their place where they play awesome baseball is a nice confidence boost," Suzuki said.Oakland (37-49) last went into the break with a sub .500 record during the 1999 season (43-44).Suzuki and Ryan Sweeney tacked on RBI singles in the eighth and Ellis connected in the ninth to make it 7-3."To take games from this team is no easy job," Ellis said. "Especially to come from behind, which is not something we've done a lot of this year."Oakland starter Brett Anderson left after four scoreless innings due to lower back stiffness. The left-hander, coming off a two-hitter in a 6-0 win over Boston Monday, gave up three hits."We were just monitoring it because his velocity was down a bit," manager Bob Geren said. "It got to the point that I thought for numerous reasons he should exit the game. It stiffened up and it could have been a potential injury."Michael Wuertz (5-1) got the win despite allowing a run and three hits in 1 1/3 innings and Andrew Bailey got six outs for his 10th save.Rays right-hander James Shields took a shutout into the seventh, but wound up allowing three runs and six hits over 6 1/3 innings."It was strange," Shields said. "I was cruising. That's just kind of how the game goes sometimes."Tampa Bay has lost two in a row at home after winning nine straight at Tropicana Field."They were tough losses," manager Joe Maddon said. "All of a sudden they bit us. I thought we had a nice thing going on there."Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead in the sixth on a two-run double by Pat Burrell and Jason Bartlett's RBI single off Wuertz."It was very disappointing," Rays right fielder Ben Zobrist said. "It was a tight game up to when we scored those three runs. It was a tough day for our bullpen. They have been pitching so well."The Rays have allowed just 26 runs in the seventh this season, but were touched for four during the inning in each of the past two games.Dan Wheeler (3-2), who followed Shields, was charged with one run while recording one out and took the loss.Oakland threatened in the first, but Cabrera was thrown out by Zobrist when he tried to score on Matt Holliday's fly ball.Rajai Davis started in right field one day after Sweeney was benched for not running out a batted ball. Geren said putting Davis, who hit a two-run homer in Saturday's 7-2 win over the Rays, in the lineup was a baseball decision.Sweeney entered in the seventh after Cust hit for Davis.
Tampa Bay All-Star LF Carl Crawford rested. He struck out as pinch hitter in the ninth. ... Cabrera has a hit in 21 of his last 23 games. ... Geren said his post All-Star break rotation will be LHP Dallas Braden, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Vin Mazzaro, Anderson and LHP Gio Gonzalez. ... Athletics 1B Jason Giambi (bruised right elbow) was sore, but was available off the bench. ... Suzuki has a career-high 10 game hitting streak. ... Burrell has 10 RBIs in 26 games since returning from a strained neck on June 12.