Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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Pomeranz, 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 directions. Fast.

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 these guys."

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.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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