for this game

Swisher powers Athletics past Devil Rays

May 6, 2007 - 11:40 PM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- Nick Swisher is no longer ailing but he is putting a hurt on the opposition.

Swisher hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning to propel the Oakland Athletics to a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the rubber game of a three-game set.

It was the second home run of the series for Swisher, who capped off a torrid series against the Devil Rays.

"I didn't quite see where it landed," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "He has very impressive power, he really does."

Oakland's designated hitter had been sidelined with a hamstring injury since April 24 before making a pinch-hit appearance against Boston on Wednesday.

Swisher returned with a vengeance against Tampa Bay, finishing the series 7-for-15 with six RBI, including a go-ahead three-run shot in Oakland's 5-2 victory on Friday night.

"It just goes to show you how good of a player he is," Geren said. "To sit out that long and come back hot, he's an incredible talent."

A's starter Joe Blanton (2-2) labored in his 7 1/3 innings, yielding three runs and 11 hits before giving way to Alan Embree, who got out of a first-and-third situation in the eighth.

"My sinker's been working pretty good right now so I'm really trying to pound that in the zone," Blanton said. "I think that's a big reason I'm going into the seventh inning and later."

Closer Huston Street, who blew a save Saturday, finished up in the ninth for his ninth save.

Blanton threw 113 pitches, an effort Geren said was needed with the bullpen already overtaxed.

"I think the big story obviously is Joe (Blanton)," Geren said. "We were a little bit thin in the bullpen. We really needed a performance like that out of him today. It was a real gutsy performance by Joe."

Three of Oakland's first four batters of the game collected singles off Tampa Bay starter Edwin Jackson (0-5), who was coming off the worst outing of his career, lasting just 1 1/3 innings in a 9-1 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday.

Dan Johnson delivered the run with a single that plated Chris Snelling and extend his hitting streak to seven games.

B.J. Upton tied in with a leadoff homer - his sixth of the season - in the second inning off Blanton, who entered with a 1-2 record and 6.94 ERA in five career starts vs. Tampa Bay.

The home run extended Upton's hitting streak to nine games, tying the longest of his career. He remains the American League's leading hitter with a .371 average.

The A's went ahead, 3-1, in the third when catcher Adam Melhuse had a two-run single, but the Devil Rays tied it again with a pair of runs in the fourth.

One-out singles by Delmon Young and Carlos Pena put runners at the corners for Brendan Harris, who singled home Young for a 3-2 deficit. Pena scored on shortstop Bobby Crosby's throwing error tied it at 3-3.

Swisher broke the tie by crushing a towering home run to deep right field to put Oakland on top, 4-3. That ended the day for Jackson, who had retired 11 straight batters before surrendering the blast to Swisher.

"I know he was sitting slider," Jackson said. "I wouldn't change the pitch, just the execution."

Jackson allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked four.

"He was pitching these last two to three innings," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I was really pleased with Jackson. Hopefully he broke some mental cohesion with confidence. He had this nice flow with his delivery. He was sure committed to each pitch and his confidence surged."

Jack Cust, appearing in his first game of the season, added an insurance run with a leadoff blast off Gary Glover in the eighth.

Cust became the 15th player in franchise history to homer in his first game as an Athletic. The last was Frank Thomas on April 3, 2006, against the New York Yankees.

"Cust showed incredible power, almost to straightaway center field," Geren said. "That's kind of what Jack Cust was known to do throughout the minors, so we're happy to give him an opportunity to do that up here. He has patience at the plate and he has power, and he showed both of them out there today."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 1 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 5 8 1
    TAMPA BAY 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 11 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - JOE BLANTON, ALAN EMBREE (8TH), HUSTON STREET (9TH) AND ADAM
    MELHUSE
    TAM - EDWIN JACKSON, GARY GLOVER (7TH), RUDDY LUGO
    (9TH) AND JOSH PAUL

    HOME RUNS: OAK

    May 6 4:26 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JACK CUST (1) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    8TH OFF GARY GLOVER.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 5, TAMPA BAY 3
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: B CROSBY (.224, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 6 3:47 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY NICK SWISHER (6) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF EDWIN JACKSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 4, TAMPA BAY 3
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: E CHAVEZ (.240, 1-FOR-3)

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 6 3:31 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY BOBBY CROSBY ALLOWED CARLOS PENA TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J PAUL ON FIRST, B HARRIS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    TAMPA BAY 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: R BALDELLI (.248, 0-FOR-2)

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 6 2:59 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BRENDAN HARRIS SCORED DELMON YOUNG.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B HARRIS ON FIRST, C PENA ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    TAMPA BAY 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: J PAUL (.250, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 6 2:57 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ADAM MELHUSE SCORED ERIC CHAVEZ AND JACK CUST.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A MELHUSE ON FIRST, M ELLIS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    TAMPA BAY 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: D PUTNAM (.143, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 6 2:32 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY B.J. UPTON (6) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    2ND OFF JOE BLANTON.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1, TAMPA BAY 1
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: D YOUNG (.239, 4 HR, 14 RBI)

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 6 2:13 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: OAK - JOE BLANTON
    TAM - EDWIN JACKSON

    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: R BALDELLI (.252, 5 HR, 12 RBI)
    E DUKES (.235, 4 HR, 6 RBI)
    C CRAWFORD (.277, 4 HR, 17 RB

    Athletics vs. RaysMay 6 1:54 PM