for this game

Swisher homers in return, helps Oakland to win

May 5, 2007 - 3:54 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- Nick Swisher made his presence felt in his return to the Oakland Athletics' lineup.

Swisher hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth inning and drove in four runs to lead the Athletics to a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the opener of a three-game series on Friday night.

After sitting out the last two weeks with a hamstring injury, Swisher returned as the designated hitter and helped the A's avoid their sixth loss in eight games.

"It was nice getting up," Swisher said. "You know me, I've been itching to get back into the lineup. I don't know what to do when I'm not playing."

Shannon Stewart drew a one-out walk and Mark Ellis followed with a single in the decisive eighth inning against Gary Glover (0-2), who was replaced by fellow righthander Brian Stokes.

Stokes struck out Eric Chavez on five pitches, but Swisher jumped all over a 2-2 fastball, crushing the offering into the right field stands for a 5-2 lead.

"That was a big hit by Nick Swisher," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "It was huge. It was nice to see him back in the lineup, back up at the plate. He likes big moments and rises to the occasion a lot."

Stokes said it was not a mistake pitch, just a good piece of hitting.

"I threw the fastball and he hit it out of the park," Stokes said. "It was where I wanted it. He just beat me tonight. All I can do is tip my cap to him."

The Devil Rays went with Stokes after giving closer Al Reyes the night off.

"I think (Reyes is) so important to us that I don't want to push the envelope with him," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I was going to stay away from Reyes regardless, even if I had to put a position player in there."

Swisher provided the A's with a bit of revenge after they lost two of three contests at home against the Devil Rays last weekend.

"We just did not make a good pitch (to Swisher) in that moment," Maddon said. "Swish is a clutch hitter, and we made a mistake in that situation. We made a bad pitch in a bad moment there."

The 27-year-old Swisher's return came not a moment too soon, as the team lost slugger Mike Piazza to a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder on Wednesday.

Piazza, who was hitting .282 (29-for-103) with one home run and eight RBI, suffered the injury attempting to avoid a tag in the 6-4 loss to Boston.

Justin Duchscherer (3-1) pitched a scoreless eighth and Houston Street worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his eighth save of the season.

Dan Haren, Oakland's ace and the American League ERA leader (1.75), was on a roll until the fourth. Haren had retired 10 of the first 11 hitters before Carl Crawford drove a 1-2 pitch past center fielder Stewart for a one-out triple, his second of the year.

Ty Wigginton then lifted a ball deep to left for a sacrifice fly, scoring the speedy Crawford to knot the game at 1-1.

"Dan pitched like a true ace," Geren said. "He pitched tremendous."

Elijah Dukes capitalized on one of the few mistakes by Haren. The rookie center fielder crushed a 2-1 fastball with a lightning-quick swing, sending a searing line drive deep into the left field bleachers for a 2-1 lead in the sixth.

Haren struck out a season-high nine but did not factor in the decision. He allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings.

Chavez evened the game at 2-2 with a two-out RBI single to left off righthander Ruddy Lugo in seventh.

Tampa Bay starter Casey Fossum, who allowed a season-high nine runs against Oakland on Saturday, rebounded by yielding just one along with five hits in six innings.

The AL's leading hitter at .386 (33-for-86, B.J. Upton had two hits for Tampa Bay, which was denied its fifth win in seven games.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 5 8 3
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 4 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - DAN HAREN, JUSTIN DUCHSCHERER (8TH), HUSTON STREET (9TH) AND
    JASON KENDALL
    TAM - CASEY FOSSUM, JAE KUK RYU (7TH), SHAWN CAMP
    (7TH), RUDDY LUGO (7TH), GARY GL

    May 4 10:04 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY NICK SWISHER (5) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 9TH OFF BRIAN STOKES SCORED SHANNON STEWART AND MARK ELLIS.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 5, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: D JOHNSON (.333, 1-FOR-3, BB)

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 4 9:52 PM
  • 0
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    RUWTbot Took away 60 roots

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 4 9:52 PM
  • 60
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 60 roots

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 4 9:36 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ERIC CHAVEZ SCORED CHRIS SNELLING.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, E CHAVEZ ON FIRST, M ELLIS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2
    TAMPA BAY 2 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: N SWISHER (.268, 1-FOR-2, SF, RBI)

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 4 9:01 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ELIJAH DUKES (4) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    6TH OFF DAN HAREN.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C CRAWFORD (.292, 1-FOR-2)

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 4 8:41 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY TY WIGGINTON SCORED CARL CRAWFORD.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1
    TAMPA BAY 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B UPTON (.388, 1-FOR-1)

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 4 8:05 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 1 1 1 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: OAK - DAN HAREN
    TAM - CASEY FOSSUM

    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: R BALDELLI (.273, 5 HR, 12 RBI)
    E DUKES (.247, 3 HR, 5 RBI)
    C CRAWFORD (.288, 4 HR, 17 RBI)

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 4 7:19 PM