A's Shut Out Rays
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[May 21, 2014]
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Drew
Pomeranz jokingly referred to it as "five-and-die," his penchant, or
perhaps inability to reach the sixth inning in his new role as a member
of the Oakland Athletics' rotation.
It was more like "five-and-thrive" on Tuesday at Tropicana Field,
as the Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays continued going in opposite
Left-hander Pomeranz and his bullpen made one early rally stand up
as the A's won 3-0 to claim their fourth straight victory and 10th
in 11 to improve their major league-best record (29-16). The Rays
(19-27), meanwhile, lost for the eighth time in their last nine at
home to slump further into last place in the American League East at
a season-low eight games under .500.
"It's a very difficult moment," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "But
while you're going through those particular moments, you still have
to show up with the type of enthusiasm as though you've won the day
before. We're going to get hot at the right time. I have faith in
Pomeranz (4-1) was again dominant in his third start of the season,
allowing three hits and two walks with three strikeouts in five
innings. He's gone five exactly in his last three starts. After
beginning the season as a reliever, he has yet to allow a run as a
starter, though, lowering his overall ERA to 0.94.
Three Oakland relievers limited the Rays -- who were shut out for
the fifth time -- to four baserunners over four innings. Sean
Doolittle recorded his third save in what could likely become his
permanent role, manager Jim Melvin said.
Pomeranz's pitch count precluded him from attempting the sixth, and
many of his allotment were required to endure the Rays' most
significant threat in the third inning.
"It's been a nice climb up for him," Melvin said of Pomeranz
reaching 89 pitches. "We get to 90 today, next time around
potentially he's the kind of full-blown starting pitcher that can
potentially go to 100 pitches."
The Rays squandered a prime opportunity in the third inning when
center fielder Desmond Jennings bounced into an inning-ending double
play after working ahead in the count, 3-0, with the bases loaded.
Rays manager Joe Maddon challenged the call but a leisurely reach
for the ball by first baseman Brandon Moss didn't cost Oakland.
"The third inning took a lot out of me," Pomeranz said. "I knew I
had to make a good pitch there."
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Oakland scored three times, all with two outs, to take a 3-0 lead in
the second inning. After catcher Derek Norris walked with one out
and second baseman Eric Sogard singled him to second with two down,
center fielder Coco Crisp delivered his second double of the game
for a 2-0 lead. Designated hitter Jon Jaso singled home Crisp for
the 3-0 lead off Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who had not
allowed a run in his last two starts.
Odorizzi hit career highs in walks (5) and pitches (113) and last
just 4 2/3 innings -- his average for the season -- allowing three
runs on four hits with eight strikeouts. In the fourth, he threw 41
pitches in the fourth inning, including 17 foul balls.
"It felt like an eternity. It was just prolonging at-bats that
really got me tonight," Odorizzi said.
NOTES: LHP Jeff Francis joined the Athletics after being claimed off
waivers from Cincinnati on Sunday. ... Tampa Bay optioned RHP
Brandon Gomes to Triple-A Durham after reinstating CF Desmond
Jennings from the bereavement list. ... The Rays have scored in one
of their last 28 innings.
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