Athletics 8, Devil Rays 7

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Justin Duchscherer and Octavio Dotel are two big reasons why Oakland is on another late-season run.

Duchscherer pitched five scoreless innings of relief and the Athletics rebounded from a four-run deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8-7 Friday night.

Erubiel Durazo hit a two-run homer, and Eric Chavez and Marco Scutaro also connected as the A’s won their fifth straight and 10th in 11 games. They maintained their one-game lead over Anaheim in the AL West.

Duchscherer (5-4) allowed four hits with no walks and struck out three in relief of starter Mark Redman. Oakland’s bullpen ran its scoreless streak to 22 innings before Tampa Bay got an unearned run against Arthur Rhodes in the eighth.

“All the pitchers feel if we make our pitches enough times we’re going to be effective,” Duchscherer said. “You don’t want to come into the ballgame with a negative attitude.”

Dotel got four outs for his 15th save in 19 chances with Oakland. He extended his scoreless streak to 16 innings.

Geoff Blum hit a three-run homer and Aubrey Huff matched a career high with four hits, but the Devil Rays had their four-game winning streak stopped.

The A’s trailed 6-3 entering the fifth. Mark Kotsay and Eric Byrnes each singled to open the inning. Jermaine Dye’s groundout drove in one run, and Scott Hatteberg singled home another. Durazo hit the first pitch he saw from Mark Hendrickson (8-13) over the center-field fence to put the A’s on top 7-6.

“When I made good pitches the ball found a hole and when I made mistakes they really made me pay,” Hendrickson said. “This is the most frustrating period I’ve experienced in my short baseball career.”

Scutaro homered with one out in the sixth.

Duchscherer won for the first time since July 3, snapping a personal three-game losing streak.

“He’s great, he throws a lot of strikes,” Scutaro said. “He’s been huge all year.”

Hendrickson dropped his fifth straight start, allowing seven runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings. He has made it through the fifth inning just once in his last five starts. His August ERA ballooned to 11.19.

“I gave Hendrickson every opportunity to win a ballgame,” Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. “He’s been struggling and we’ve got to get him turned around or he’s going to the bullpen. I have other people who need to pitch here, too.”

Redman lasted a season-low two-plus innings, giving up six runs and nine hits. Redman has struggled at home this season, losing four of seven decisions with an ERA of 7.04.

“It was like I was sleepwalking,” Redman said. “Still, it was a great win. You can’t say enough about Duchscherer and how he shut them down.”

Chavez hit his 26th home run, a solo shot with two outs in the first, to give the A’s the early lead.

Blum’s three-run shot in the second highlighted a five-run outburst for the Devil Rays. It was Blum’s sixth homer, but his first since July 22 and just his third from the right side since Sept. 9, 2002. Huff and Tino Martinez also drove in runs.

Jorge Cantu doubled and scored on Julio Lugo’s single to start the third, ending Redman’s night.

Notes

Bobby Crosby’s second-inning single for Oakland broke an 0-for-16 skid. … Huff, out of the lineup the previous six days, had his sixth career four-hit game. … The Devil Rays have never won a series in Oakland (0-9-1). … Piniella turns 61 on Saturday. … Redman allowed his career-high 25th homer.

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