ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Oakland Athletics have struggled on the road, in one-run games and extra innings. All three came together in positive way for one day.
Josh Willingham led off the 10th inning with a home run, helping the Athletics beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 on Sunday.Willingham lined a pitch from Jake McGee (0-1) into the left-field stands for his 17th homer this season. Fautino De Los Santos (1-0) threw a scoreless ninth to pick up his first major league win and Andrew Bailey allowed two singles in the 10th before getting his 13th save."It feels great," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Everybody contributed."Hideki Matsui also homered for Oakland, which stopped a stretch of 12 consecutive non-winning road series by taking two of three from the Rays. The Athletics improved to 7-10 in extra-inning games and 15-20 in one-run contests."All the stuff that we've been struggling with, a good win for us," Melvin said. "It's well documented, our struggles on the road. We needed, for many reasons, an outcome like this. Guys are feeling a lot better about it."Tampa Bay got homers from Casey Kotchman and Evan Longoria."It was a tough one," McGee said.Matsui extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a two-run homer off AL All-Star David Price during a three-run fifth that gave Oakland a 4-3 advantage. The designated hitter has 23 homers and 99 RBIs in 129 games against the Rays, his most against many team.David DeJesus scored the go-ahead run in the fifth on J.P. Howell's wild pitch.Tampa Bay pulled even at 4 on Longoria's solo shot off Grant Balfour during the seventh.Price, coming off three straight losses, allowed four runs and seven hits over 4 2/3 innings."It's been frustrating the last month and a half," Price said. "It's going to change. It stinks."Oakland's Trevor Cahill, who is pitching with a bruise on his right index finger, gave up three runs and six hits over six innings."Usually it just hurts on my curveball later in the game, but this is the first time it started hurting on a fastball," Cahill said. "I just kind of worked through it."Kotchman had a solo homer and Desmond Jennings hit an RBI single as Tampa Bay went up 3-1 in the fourth. Johnny Damon put the Rays ahead 1-0 on a third-inning RBI grounder.Ryan Sweeney was hitless in 19 at-bats against left-hander's this season before getting Oakland even at 1 on a run-scoring single off Price in the fourth. The Rays lefty entered holding left-handed batters to a .154 average this year, lowest among major league starters.Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist lost a double with two outs in the seventh after a reversal call. First base umpire Tim Welke, while attempting to get out of the way of a liner down the line, called the ball fair. Welke, after talking with Melvin, checked with plate umpire Mike DiMuro and the call was changed to foul.Zobrist then popped out to end the inning.Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp (strained right calf) and first baseman Conor Jackson (back spasms) were both out of the starting lineup, but will likely return for the start of a three-game series at Toronto on Tuesday night.
Tampa Bay placed rookie RHP Alex Cobb on the 15-day disabled list with a hand injury and recalled LHP Cesar Ramos from Triple-A Durham. ... Oakland SS Cliff Pennington, who missed games last Tuesday and Wednesday because of Bell's palsy, was rested. Melvin said Pennington would likely get another off day during the Toronto series. ... Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (10-7) will face Kansas City RHP Luke Hochevar (8-8) in the opener of a four-game series Monday night. ... Oakland will have RHP Rich Harden (2-2) take the hill Tuesday night against the Blue Jays, who are scheduled to have LHP Brett Cecil (4-4) pitch. ... Athletics LHP Craig Breslow was unavailable due to soreness in the left upper back.
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