Tampa Bay (12-19) at Oakland (16-14)

Fair Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 58° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sun May 7, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Oakland Athletics haven’t won two straight at home since their first series of the season.

They’ll try to capture their first series since then when they meet the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the finale of their weekends series at McAfee Coliseum on Sunday.

Since Oakland (16-14) won two of three against the New York Yankees from April 3-5, it has struggled at home going just 5-8 since then.

They managed to even this three-game set with a bizarre 3-2 victory on Saturday. Jay Payton scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning when Jason Kendall’s two-out grounder got through Tampa Bay third baseman Aubrey Huff’s legs.

Moments earlier, Payton stayed on second following a wild 6-4-5-6-4 double play in which Dan Johnson was forced out at second right before Payton returned to the base after taking off on Marco Scutaro’s ground ball.

Scutaro was headed for second, too, and became the second out when he arrived to the bag at the same time.

“Um, crazy,” Payton said. “Bottom line, it was a crazy game.”

Oakland manager Ken Macha shuffled his lineup in an effort to boost his struggling offense. He benched Mark Ellis and used both catchers—Kendall and Adam Melhuse at designated hitter.

Ellis is batting .189 for the season, although he’s not the only player struggling for Oakland. Shortstop Bobby Crosby is batting .220, Frank Thomas is at .185 and Dan Johnson .173.

“It’s not just Ellis,” Macha said. “Frank, Crosby, Johnson—those are four guys we’d like to do what we can to get them going, or put someone else in there and let them get hot and ride that for a while.”

Brad Halsey (1-0, 2.50 ERA) will make his second start of the season for Oakland. Halsey is in the rotation due to injuries to Esteban Loaiza and Rich Harden, both of whom are on the disabled list.

The left-hander was limited to 73 pitches in his first start Tuesday. He earned the victory after giving up three runs and five hits in a 10-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

“I’m pleased with the number of pitches and the quality of his pitches,” Macha said. “He should be to go about 90 pitches this time.”

Halsey will make his second career start against Tampa Bay. He allowed three runs and seven hits over 3 1-3 innings in a 10-5 victory with the New York Yankees on Sept. 9, 2004.

Tampa Bay (12-19) fell to 7-31 all-time at Oakland with Saturday’s loss. The Devil Rays have never captured a series at the Coliseum.

Right fielder Jonny Gomes, who has a team-high 11 homers, has not connected in his last seven games. It’s his longest stretch of the season without one.

The Devil Rays will also send a left-hander to the mound in Mark Hendrickson (1-2, 2.66), who is 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts since coming off the disabled list after suffering shoulder stiffness. He gave up six runs and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 7-5 loss to Texas on Tuesday.

Hendrickson is 0-3 with a 11.81 ERA in three career starts at the Coliseum.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Hendrickson Bal vs. B. Halsey NYY
6-15 Record 5-4
4.21 ERA 4.67
99 K 53
62 BB 46
1.43 WHIP 1.63