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Souza, Rays overpower A's in series opener

MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Five home runs and an inspired effort by Alex Cobb led the Rays to a 13-4 win over the A's Friday night at Tropicana Field.

Steven Souza Jr. got the Rays started in the first with a three-run homer off Oakland starter Andrew Triggs. The 453-foot barreled ball had an exit velocity of 108.7 mph with a 23-degree launch angle according to Statcast™.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Five home runs and an inspired effort by Alex Cobb led the Rays to a 13-4 win over the A's Friday night at Tropicana Field.

Steven Souza Jr. got the Rays started in the first with a three-run homer off Oakland starter Andrew Triggs. The 453-foot barreled ball had an exit velocity of 108.7 mph with a 23-degree launch angle according to Statcast™.

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Mallex Smith hit his first home run as a Ray when he went deep in the fourth, depositing a 1-0 pitch from Triggs into the right-field stands for a two-run homer. Logan Morrison added a solo shot three batters later, his 17th of the season, to put the Rays up 8-0.

Video: OAK@TB: Smith lifts a two-run homer to right field

"Energy-wise, I felt pretty good all night," said Triggs, who was lifted after 3 2/3 innings. "Just from pitch one … the location was just horrendous."

Tim Beckham and Corey Dickerson added home runs in the Rays' five-run fifth to push the lead to 13-0. Meanwhile, Cobb recovered nicely from his last outing when he allowed nine runs on 14 hits at Seattle. Friday night, the Rays right-hander notched a quality start, holding the A's to one run on four hits and a walk while striking out five in six innings.

Video: OAK@TB: Dickerson tags a three-run homer to center

"One of the mindsets I had today when we got off to that early lead was, you know, there's a doubleheader coming up and we play like three more games, it seems, in 24 hours," Cobb said. "So I wanted to work deeper into the game and try and give the bullpen some rest. … You're just trying to attack the zone."

Khris Davis' sixth-inning single drove home the A's first run. Former Ray Stephen Vogt added a solo home run in the seventh. The A's scored twice in the eighth, on a wild pitch and an Adam Rosales double -- for the final margin.

Video: OAK@TB: Davis cashes in with an RBI single to right

"This is probably the worst game, at least from the start, that we've had this year," said A's manager Bob Melvin, whose club dropped to 8-21 in road games. "But no one feels sorry for you in this league. … We've got to find out a way to play better on the road."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Three bags and a big fly: Smith was recalled before the game to help cover for the loss of center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who went on the disabled list with a right hip fracture. After reaching base in his first two at-bats, Smith hit his first home run as a Ray in the fourth. He also stole three bases in the game and in doing so, joined some elite company: Carl Crawford is the only other Tampa Bay player to have at least three stolen bases and a home run in the same game. Crawford did it on May 24, 2006, at Toronto.

So close, Souza: Souza had a homer, a single, and a triple in his first three at-bats, leaving him a double shy of the cycle. He grounded out in his fourth at-bat, but given the lopsided nature of the game, another chance hung on the horizon. That opportunity came with two outs in the eighth, and he popped out. Had he managed to accomplish one of the odder feats in baseball, Souza would have become the second Rays player in history to do so. Melvin Upton Jr. is the lone player in franchise history to hit for the cycle.

QUOTABLE
"Across the board, just embarrassing."
-- Triggs, who became the first A's pitcher to allow eight runs and three homers in 3 2/3 innings or fewer since Vin Mazzaro in August 2010

"They really had good at-bats. It seemed like early on they laid off some borderline pitches. Triggs was looking to back-door some sliders that we didn't bite on. We made him get the ball into the zone a little bit more and then when he did, we were ready for it."
-- Rays manager Kevin Cash on the offensive output

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Souza's homer in the first made him the ninth player this year to hit at least two 450-foot-plus home runs.

Friday was the first time Oakland used only two pitchers in a game in which it allowed at least 13 runs since using Steve Ontiveros and John Wasdin in a 13-6 loss against Boston on Aug. 24, 1995.

UNDER REVIEW
The Rays challenged in the fourth when Souza hit a ball that appeared to strike a catwalk and he ended up on third with a triple. According to Tropicana Field ground rules, any fair ball hitting the "C" or "D" rings is a home run. After a delay of 2 minutes, 10 seconds, the call on the field stood. Of note, the 44-degree launch angle on the triple was the greatest of any triple hit this year in the Major Leagues, per Statcast™.

WHAT'S NEXT
Athletics: Sonny Gray will get the nod to open Oakland's scheduled doubleheader against the Rays on Saturday at 11:10 a.m. PT. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three career starts at Tropicana Field. Lefty Sean Manaea, who has held opponents to a .180 average in his last four outings, will start the second game.

Rays: Erasmo Ramirez (3-1, 4.09) will start the first game of the Rays' single-admission doubleheader in the 2:10 p.m. ET contest. Matt Andriese (5-1, 3.45) will start the second game, which begins 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Jeff Odom is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.