OAKLAND -- Solid pitching and the long ball helped the Rays overcome a myriad of mistakes in a 4-3 win over the A's on Tuesday night at the Oakland Coliseum. Tampa Bay has now won four consecutive games to move to 27-26 on the season."We've been battling," said C.J. Cron,
OAKLAND -- Solid pitching and the long ball helped the Rays overcome a myriad of mistakes in a 4-3 win over the A's on Tuesday night at the Oakland Coliseum. Tampa Bay has now won four consecutive games to move to 27-26 on the season.
"We've been battling," said C.J. Cron, referencing the team's 3-12 start. "It was a pretty rough start, so we had a lot of work to do. Yesterday it felt good to finally get there. And then today to finally take that step."
The Rays committed a season-high three errors (all throwing), they made three outs on the bases and starter Blake Snell uncorked a wild pitch -- heinous baseball sins that often prove difficult to overcome, but there are times when the long ball can erase mistakes. And the Rays received a power injection in the third inning when they hit three consecutive home runs.
Cron, Joey Wendle and Wilson Ramos all went deep to stake the Rays to a 3-0 lead. It marked the fourth time in franchise history that the Rays have hit three consecutive home runs in a game. The last time came on Sept. 21, 2016, when Evan Longoria, Brad Miller and Corey Dickerson did so against the Yankees at Tropicana Field.
"It's awesome," said Cron of the third-inning barrage. "In the grand scheme of things, it was three runs when we needed to score. Some days we don't have any power and we can't hit a homer, and some days we hit three in a row, I guess. So it was fun today."
While the mistakes were prevalent on Tuesday night, they were uncharacteristic of the Rays.
"Mistakes are going to happen, it's baseball," Cron said. "We still pride ourselves on our defense. So I'm not too worried about that."
Snell baffled the Athletics like he has most of the teams he's faced this season. The left-hander allowed only an unearned run on two hits and two walks while striking out seven in 5 2/3 innings. When Snell did get the hook with two outs in the sixth and a runner on third, he clearly didn't like the move. Then when Jonny Venters retired the next batter, Matt Olson and Snell could be seen smiling in the dugout.
"I knew going out that I was going to see a couple of hitters and that was going to be it," Snell said. "I was frustrated because it was going to be a lefty. But [managrer Kevin Cash] was also playing to win. With Venters, he's unreal. So I was upset because I wanted to continue to go. But he's going to make his decisions, and I'm going to agree with them. … After [Venters] got out of that tough situation, I was happy for him."
Jaime Schultz and Chaz Roe pitched scoreless seventh and eighth innings, respectfully, then Daniel Robertson added a solo shot in the ninth to put the Rays up 4-1, and the last home run turned out to be crucial as the A's scored twice in the ninth against Sergio Romo to equal the final margin.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Roe started the eighth for the Rays and walked the leadoff batter before Matt Chapman dropped a single into right and advanced to second on Carlos Gomez's throwing error. With runners in scoring position to tie the game, Roe got to work. First he struck out Jed Lowrie swinging, then he struck out Mark Canha on a foul tip bringing Chad Pinder to the plate. Roe got ahead 1-2 in the count before getting Pinder to roll over to third to end the threat.
Schultz made his Major League debut in the seventh, and the hard-throwing right-hander with the sweet 12-6 curveball struck out the side. John Holdzkom of the Pirates was the last pitcher to strike out the side or better in his Major League debut when he did so on Sept. 2, 2014.
Schultz told reporters he tried to remain calm in the moment.
"Definitely amped up, and I think if I had let the adrenalin to get the best of me, I probably would have thrown it all over the place," Schultz said.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Schultz: "That's pretty special for him. We've got to recognize three punch outs. Come in and throw strikes. ... That should be a huge confidence boost for him to come into that situation."
Despite Schultz's success Tuesday night, the right-hander was optioned back to Triple-A Durham so Nathan Eovaldi could be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list. In addition, right-hander Jake Faria (left-oblique strain) was transferred from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL to make room for Eovaldi on the 40-man roster.
HE SAID IT
"That was awesome. I was happy about that. Back-to-back-to-back, get a lead. Get more comfortable, it was fun to watch. Four home runs is always good. ... To get a lead is definitely comforting and allows me to get in a groove." -- Snell, on the back-to-back-to-back home runs
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Robertson led off the Rays' fourth by hitting a ball off the left-field wall. He slid head-first into second and did an evasive move with his right arm before snaking his left arm to grab the base. Initially, he was called safe. Oakland challenged the call, and after a 1-minute, 59-second delay, the call was overturned.
Tampa Bay plays Oakland in the third game of a four-game series Wednesday in a 10:05 p.m. ET contest. Eovaldi will make his first start with the Rays, and his first Major League appearance since Aug. 10, 2016, against the Red Sox in Boston. Left-hander Sean Manaea will start for the Athletics.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.