ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—In a game full of missed opportunities, Nick Green finally made the most of one.
Of course, even his game-winning hit came right after he failed to get a bunt down. Green’s broken-bat single in the 10th inning gave the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a 3-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
The teams went a combined 4-for-25 with runners in scoring position and Green almost added to the dismal production.
Joey Gathright began the 10th with a leadoff triple against Cruz and Carl Crawford was intentionally walked before Green failed to get the bunt down before getting his first hit with the Devil Rays on an 0-2 pitch from Juan Cruz (0-1).
“I put myself in a hole … it was my fault,” Green said. “It’s definitely a nice way to end it, especially getting my first hit out of the way too.”
Green was in the lineup for the first time since he was acquired from Atlanta for pitcher Jorge Sosa on March 31. He has been slowed by a groin strain.
“He got just enough,” manager Lou Piniella said. “We had him in there, gave him his first start and he wins the ballgame with a timely base hit.”
“That was the game,” Baez said. “I knew it was the most important point of the game.”
Baez also escaped a two on, one-out jam in the 10th.
Oakland’s Joe Blanton gave up two runs and four hits over five innings in his first major league start. He made three relief appearances with Oakland late last year after going 11-8 with a 4.19 ERA for Triple-A Sacramento.
“One thing I had been working on going into the game was my mechanics,” Blanton said. “They’re still a little bit flawed. I was kind of fighting them the whole game, but the way my start went, I feel pretty good.”
Rob Bell went six innings for Tampa Bay, allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out six, walked two and hit a batter.
Oakland hit 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position. No. 3 hitter Eric Chavez struck out on the fifth and seventh, both times with two on and one out. Durazo, who hit fourth, ended both innings.
“We had a bunch of chances,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “We just couldn’t get that breakthrough hit.”
Julio Lugo and Cantu opened the bottom of the seventh with singles off Justin Duchscherer. After Toby Hall’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, Duchscherer started an inning-ending double play by catching Gathright’s liner and throwing to third to double up Lugo.
Tampa Bay C Charles Johnson was placed on the restricted list without pay, two days after requesting a leave of absence to handle a personal matter. Piniella said Johnson could rejoin the team by early next week. … Tampa Bay promoted C Tim Laker from Triple-A Durham to back up Hall. … Oakland OF Mark Kotsay went 3-for-5, giving him at least two hits in all four games this season. He tied an Oakland record with 57 multihit games last season. … The Devil Rays obtained OF Reggie Taylor from Colorado for LHP Bobby Seay, who had been designated for assignment April 2. Taylor will join Triple-A Durham.