ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella wanted some offensive production, and Rocco Baldelli provided it.
“We’re getting better … slowly,” Piniella said. “The story was Hendrickson’s starting pitching and the way we swung the bats. We’re starting to wake up. It was a good win. Let’s hope we can build on it.”
Baldelli connected against Tim Hudson, making it 4-1 with a two-run shot in the third. Baldelli has hit two of his three homers this season in the past three games.
“Baldelli was aggressive,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “First-pitch fastball and he made us pay.”
The Devil Rays scored 40 runs in their previous 15 games.
“Obviously, those guys were due to win,” Hudson said. “They’ve been scuffling for a while. Today was their day.”
Hendrickson (1-2) allowed two runs and six hits. His victory snapped a stretch of 20 consecutive winless starts by Tampa Bay left-handers dating to Joe Kennedy’s win against Toronto last May 13.
“I think during this streak of not playing well, it’s evident that certain things each game were the reason why we didn’t win,” Hendrickson said. “Today we had some good pitching, we got some runs there at the end, got on Hudson a little early, too. Just an all-around good game for the team.”
Hudson (3-1) allowed eight runs and nine hits in seven innings. He entered 5-0 in eight starts against Tampa Bay.
“It feels good to start swinging the bats again, especially to do it against a guy like that,” Baldelli said. “He’s a great pitcher. It was a pretty good game for us, a pretty good confidence boost.”
Hudson gave up 11 runs over 36 1-3 innings in his previous five starts this season.
Eric Byrnes homered for Oakland. The Athletics have lost seven of nine.
Oakland went 8-11 during a span in which it played 16 of 19 games on the road.
“It should have been better,” Macha said. “That’s all behind us.”
Robert Fick put the Devil Rays up 2-0 with a two-run, two-out triple in the first.
Oakland got one run back in the third on an RBI single by Eric Chavez.
Byrnes’ solo homer in the fifth got Oakland to 4-2. Tampa Bay pitchers have allowed a homer in a franchise-record 13 straight games.
Carl Crawford drove in a pair with a bases-loaded single during a four-run seventh that extended Tampa Bay’s lead to 8-2. The Athletics committed two errors and had a passed ball during the inning.
“I started that screwup,” Hudson said. “I wasn’t ready to throw to second base. My mind and my body was ready to throw to first. Just made a bad throw.”
Crawford went 7-for-14 with four RBIs in the three-game series.
“Everything unraveled in the seventh,” Macha said.
Crawford stole his AL-best 14th base in the first. … Hudson has gone seven or more innings in five straight starts. … Fick’s triple was his first this year and eighth overall. It came in his 1,636th at-bat. … Oakland LF Bobby Kielty doubled in the third. He had been 0-for-14 in day games. … Hendrickson won for the first time since beating the Devil Rays at TropicanaField last Sept. 10 with Toronto.