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Hellickson, Rays avoid sweep in Oakland

Aug 7, 2014 - 3:06 AM Oakland, CA ( - Jeremy Hellickson picked up his first win in nearly a year, pitching the Tampa Bay Rays to a 7-3 win over the Oakland Athletics in the finale of a three-game set on Wednesday.

In his fourth start of the season, Hellickson (1-1) limited the A's to one run on two hits with three strikeouts over seven strong innings.

The right-hander, who sat out the first three-plus months of the season recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his pitching elbow, was the winning pitcher in an 18-inning affair against Baltimore on Sept. 20 and hadn't won a game he started since Sept. 4 against the Angels.

Kevin Kiermaier homered and drove in three, Desmond Jennings knocked in a pair and Ben Zobrist went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for Tampa, which salvaged the final game of the series after mustering two runs in the previous two games.

"We lost two games here," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Overall, we have been playing pretty well. To come out and win this game tells yoU a lot about our guys."

The Rays had lost three straight and five of their last six coming in.

Sonny Gray (12-5) was roughed up for season highs of seven runs -- six earned -- and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings on the hill.

Josh Reddick had two RBI and Eric Sogard cracked his first homer of the season in the setback.

"It was just one of those days," said Reddick. "Everyone is going to have their off days and (Gray) had it. Our lineup continued to struggle."

Tampa Bay manufactured the first run of the game with a couple of base hits in the second. Yunel Escobar singled to begin the frame, then advanced to second when Cole Figueroa reached on an infield single after executing a hit-and-run. Jose Molina moved the two runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Kiermaier knocked in Escobar with an RBI groundout.

Gray walked three of the first four batters he faced in the third, but the reigning AL Pitcher of the Month worked out of trouble, getting Escobar to ground into a force out at home and Figueroa to fly out to right.

Jose Molina legged out an infield single in the fourth before Kiermaier knocked his ninth homer of the season to give the visitors a three-run cushion. Zobrist hustled for a double later in the inning and scored on Evan Longoria's bloop single to center.

Hellickson allowed a base hit to Coco Crisp to open the fourth which was the first baserunner for Oakland on the day. The right-hander worked around the leadoff man, though, inducing a lineout of John Jaso before fanning Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss to end the inning.

Tampa Bay opened up the margin in the fifth and chased Gray from the contest in the process. Escobar slapped a single to left and advanced to third on Sogard's error that could have possibly been the start of a double play.

Kiermaier was hit by a pitch two batters later to load the bases which preceded Jennings' two-run single. Zobrist followed with a run-scoring hit to right.

Sogard got a run back in the sixth with a solo homer down the right-field line.

With two outs in the ninth, Donaldson singled and Moss walked to set up Reddick's two-run double which accounted for the final margin.

Game Notes

Loney has reached base safely in 25 consecutive games ... Oakland hasn't won three straight since taking six games in a row from July 3-8 ... The A's had just four hits and went 1-for-2 with runners in scoring position ... Gray has lost back-to-back outings in August after going 5-0 in July.

  • TAMPA BAY: 7
    OAKLAND: 3

    Aug 6 6:49 PM

  • Josh Reddick doubled to center scoring Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss with two out. Runner on second and Alberto Callaspo due up.

    Rays 7, Athletics 3  Bot 9, 2 OutsAug 6 6:47 PM

  • Eric Sogard one-out, solo Home Run (1) to right. Coco Crisp due up.

    Rays 7, Athletics 1  Bot 6, 1 OutAug 6 5:41 PM

  • Ben Zobrist singled to right scoring Kevin Kiermaier with one out. On the play, Desmond Jennings advances to third. Runners on first and third and Matt Joyce due up.

    Rays 7, Athletics 0  Top 5, 1 OutAug 6 5:21 PM

  • Desmond Jennings singled to center scoring Yunel Escobar and Cole Figueroa with one out. On the play, Kevin Kiermaier advances to third. Runners on first and third and Ben Zobrist due up.

    Rays 6, Athletics 0  Top 5, 1 OutAug 6 5:16 PM
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    Rays 4, Athletics 0  Top 5, 1 OutAug 6 5:13 PM
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    Rays 4, Athletics 0  Bot 4, 0 OutsAug 6 4:52 PM

  • Evan Longoria singled to center scoring Ben Zobrist with two out. Runner on first and James Loney due up.

    Rays 4, Athletics 0  Top 4, 2 OutsAug 6 4:46 PM

  • Kevin Kiermaier none-out, two-run Home Run (9) to right scored Jose Molina. Desmond Jennings due up.

    Rays 3, Athletics 0  Top 4, 0 OutsAug 6 4:38 PM
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    Rays 1, Athletics 0  End 3Aug 6 4:34 PM
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    Rays 1, Athletics 0  Mid 3Aug 6 4:25 PM

  • Kevin Kiermaier grounded out second to first scoring Yunel Escobar with two out. On the play, Cole Figueroa advances to third. Runner on third and Desmond Jennings due up.

    Rays 1, Athletics 0  Top 2, 2 OutsAug 6 3:59 PM

  • TAMPA BAY: 0
    OAKLAND: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Aug 6 3:38 PM
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    Rays vs. AthleticsJul 27 8:49 AM
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    Rays vs. AthleticsJun 9 8:16 PM