Devil Rays 7, Athletics 4
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Tampa Bay found its offense against Oakland on Saturday night.
“We’ve been talking about putting up runs against this team and we did,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said.
The Devil Rays had scored just 13 runs in losing six straight to the A’s and 18 of 21. LaForest hit a two-run double and Crawford had a pair of RBI singles for the Devil Rays (56-84), who surpassed their 2002 victory total.
“It’s just a freak thing,” said Huff of his seventh career stolen base, his second this year. “I was just lucky to get one regular steal.”
Huff wasn’t aware the bunt play was on until third base coach Tom Foley said something at the last second.
“I just took off,” Huff said.
Jose Guillen homered and drove in two runs for the AL West-leading Athletics, who maintained a two-game lead over second-place Seattle. Oakland has lost three of four following a 10-game winning streak.
“It’s coming down to the end and we’ve got to continue to focus, play hard and we’ve got make sure we get the good pitching,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said.
Athletics bench coach Terry Francona was ejected by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt in the eighth for expressing displeasure about the strike zone.
“I’m as stunned as anybody,” Macha said. “He said we were badgering him all night. … That’s not a true statement.”
Oakland starter Rich Harden (4-4) allowed five runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings. He has given up 25 runs and 34 hits over 27 1-3 innings in last six starts.
“I feel strong but my velocity was down,” Harden said. “I’m more inconsistent now than I ever have been.”
Erubiel Durazo’s sacrifice fly put Oakland ahead in the first, but LaForest’s two-out, two-run double gave Tampa Bay the lead in the second.
Huff had an RBI grounder and Al Martin drove in a run with a double to make it 4-1 in the third. Huff has 22 RBIs in his past 15 games.
Guillen’s fourth-inning homer pulled the A’s to 4-2. All six of his homers with Oakland have been solo shots.
Tampa Bay got the run back in the bottom half on Crawford’s RBI single, which chased Harden. Guillen had an RBI single in the fifth.
Crawford hit his second RBI single for a 6-3 lead in the sixth. Eric Chavezsingled home a run in the seventh.
Guillen was back in the lineup after sitting out two games while serving a suspension for his actions with Cincinnati earlier this year. … Devil Rays CF Rocco Baldelli took away an extra-base hit from Durazo with a leaping catch near the fence in third. … Oakland LF Terrence Long, in an 0-for-11 slide, singled in the second and fourth. … Crawford stole second in the third. He leads the AL with 47 stolen bases. … Martin had struck out in four previous at-bats—including once Saturday—against Harden before histhird-inning double.