for this game

Rays edge Athletics in rubber game

Jul 23, 2008 - 9:06 PM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- The Tampa Bay Rays are making sure their seven-game losing streak to finish the first half is nothing but a distant memory.

Jonny Gomes and Ben Zobrist hit back-to-back home runs and James Shields pitched a solid 8 1/3 innings as Tampa Bay defeated the Oakland Athletics, 4-3, on Wednesday.

Gomes hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning off Oakland starter Greg Smith to tie the score at 2-2 and Zobrist added a shot on the next pitch as Tampa Bay went on to claim the rubber game of the three-game series.

With the win, the Rays improved to 4-2 since the All-Star break.

"It was a huge win," Shields said. "We won our last two series. Now we have to go on the road (at Kansas City) and keep winning."

Shields (9-6) and the Rays continued their dominance at home, as the righthander improved to 7-1 at Tropicana Field while the Rays won for the 36th time in their last 45 games here.

"You don't want to see (Shields) out there sweating and competing and dominating and not put any runs on the board," Gomes said.

The win also keeps the Rays (59-41) at least one half-game in front of Boston atop the American League East. The Red Sox wrap up a three-game series at Seattle later Wednesday.

"The point I tried to make to the guys was to play with composure when we go on the road," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "We seem to do relatively well at home."

Shields allowed three runs and six hits, striking out seven without a walk. He left with one out in the ninth after giving up a double to Jack Cust.

Troy Percival, who came off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, retired Emil Brown on a sacrifice fly. He then walked rookie Carlos Gonzalez on four pitches before retiring Bobby Crosby on a ground ball to third for his 20th save.

"It was a little tough," Shields said. "I wanted to finish, but Percy (Percival) is our closer so it's his job to finish it off. He did great."

Zobrist finished with two hits and two RBI, adding an insurance run with an run-scoring single in the seventh. Despite his performance, Zobrist was sent down to Class AAA Durham after the game.

"We've ran into some good pitchers, that's for sure," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "We started swinging the bat the last couple days a lot better."

Oakland took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on back-to-back solo homers from Brown and Gonzalez.

"It was a pretty evenly played game," Geren said. "Both pitchers made a couple of mistakes with home run balls, but other than that, they were both outstanding."

Smith (5-9) surrendered four runs and five hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out four for the A's, who are 1-7 in their last eight games.

"It was tough, going to New York like that fresh off the All-Star game and getting swept," Smith said. "Then having a chance to win the series today and it slips away from us. It's kind of a let down, but we get to go back home and kind of get away from it tomorrow with the off day."








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

    BATTERIES: OAK - GREG SMITH, SANTIAGO CASILLA (7TH), ALAN EMBREE (7TH), JERRY
    BLEVINS (8TH) AND KURT SUZUKI
    TAM - JAMES SHIELDS, TROY PERCIVAL (9TH) AND SHAWN
    RIGGANS

    HOME

    Jul 23 3:17 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY EMIL BROWN SCORED JACK CUST.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    TAMPA BAY 4 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: C GONZALEZ (.269, 2-FOR-3, HR, RBI)

    Athletics 3, Rays 4  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 23 3:13 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Athletics 3, Rays 4  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 23 3:13 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BEN ZOBRIST SCORED WILLY AYBAR.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B ZOBRIST ON FIRST, S RIGGANS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2
    TAMPA BAY 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: A IWAMURA (.278, 1-FOR-3)

    Athletics 2, Rays 4  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 23 2:39 PM
  • 0
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots

    Athletics 2, Rays 4  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 23 2:39 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Athletics 2, Rays 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 23 2:26 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY BEN ZOBRIST (5) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    5TH OFF GREG SMITH.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2, TAMPA BAY 3
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: A IWAMURA (.278, 1-FOR-2)

    Athletics 2, Rays 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 23 1:55 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JONNY GOMES (8) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF GREG SMITH SCORED CARLOS PENA.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B ZOBRIST (.208, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics 2, Rays 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 23 1:55 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CARLOS GONZALEZ (3) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF JAMES SHIELDS.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2, TAMPA BAY 0
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: B CROSBY (.256, 4 HR, 39 RBI)

    Athletics 2, Rays 0  Top 2, 0 OutsJul 23 12:56 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY EMIL BROWN (8) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    2ND OFF JAMES SHIELDS.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1, TAMPA BAY 0
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: C GONZALEZ (.262, 2 HR, 16 RBI)

    Athletics 1, Rays 0  Top 2, 0 OutsJul 23 12:54 PM