A's rallies not enough as Zobrist, Crawford win it for Rays in 9th

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ben Zobrist, pinch-hitter deluxe.

Zobrist came off the bench and tied the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, then Carl Crawford won it with an RBI single to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 6-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.

"He's turning into a cult figure," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Zobrist.

Zobrist got the Rays even at 5 with the homer off Andrew Bailey.

"I tried to throw a backdoor cutter and it just went middle," Bailey said. "It wasn't away enough."

Zobrist is 4-of-12 with three homers and nine RBIs as a pinch hitter this season.

"For me sometimes, it's freeing to know that you've got one shot and might as well take your hacks," Zobrist said. "It's pretty easy not to get a hit in the situation. It's a tough situation. I kind of tell myself I've got nothing to lose. Go up there and look for something hard to hit, and if it's in the zone just try to put a good swing on it."

After Dioner Navarro doubled and B.J. Upton walked against Brad Ziegler (0-1), Crawford lined the game-winning single to center.

"It would have been a bad loss, absolutely," Maddon said.,

Adam Kennedy had an RBI single and Ryan Sweeney drew a bases-loaded walk off Joe Nelson (1-0) to give Oakland a 5-3 lead in the top of the ninth.

Tampa Bay's Matt Garza allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. Oakland left-hander Dallas Braden gave up three runs and six hits over seven innings.

Two walks and Jason Giambi's single off the wall in center field against Tampa Bay closer Troy Percival loaded the bases in the ninth. Kennedy's single made it 4-3 and Sweeney followed with his RBI walk.

Pinch-runner Rajai Davis advanced only from second to third on Giambi's hit, and was running back toward second when the ball was at the wall.

"It was just a flat-out baserunning mistake, and you can't make those mistakes at this level," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "Especially if that's your job."

Jason Bartlett gave the Rays a 3-2 lead with his sixth homer, a solo shot in the sixth. He had just one homer in 128 games last season. Bartlett went 1-for-4, and is hitting .376 this year.

Oakland tied it at 3 on Orlando Cabrera's RBI single off Dan Wheeler in the eighth. The Athletics failed in their bid for a season-high three-game winning streak.

Gabe Kapler hit an RBI double and Upton drove in a run with an infield single as Tampa Bay went ahead 2-0 in the second.

The Athletics made it 2-all in the fourth on Kennedy's RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Sweeney.

Tampa Bay completed an eight-game homestand against Cleveland and Oakland with a 5-3 record.

The game was delayed 19 minutes with two outs in the bottom of the first because of a power failure at Tropicana Field. The Rays said a nearby electrical substation was affected by a lightning strike.

The umpires pulled the Athletics off the field as power was being restored.

"I was bitter to quite bitter about it," Braden said of the delay. "There's not much you can really do when the lights go out. Played catch, tried not to get struck by lightning or whatever was going on out there. Nice state, Florida."

Game notes
The AL record for pinch-hit homers in a season is five, set by Boston's Joe Cronin in 1943. ... Upton had two hits in four at-bats. He entered 1 for 25 against the Athletics this season. ... Oakland RHP Justin Duchscherer (right elbow surgery) threw at 60 feet on level ground.