ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- When the Tampa Bay Rays arrived in their clubhouse before the Saturday night game against the Oakland A's, they were greeted by disc jockey DJ Fresh spinning high-energy tunes.
"That was Day Rave One," manager Joe Maddon said. "I wanted our guys to prep for tonight's game in another way. I'm really not that manager that is into an extra 100 swings before every game every night. I think that could be counter-productive. I want our guys to chill out a little bit, go out there and play hard and not be afraid about making mistakes ever. This is my way of getting the point across."
Apparently, the ploy worked because Maddon got the results he was seeking, a 1-0, three-hit shutout over Oakland that gave the Rays back-to-back wins for only the second time this season.
Matt Joyce homered and Jeremy Hellickson pitched seven shutout innings as the Rays (7-10) at Tropicana Field.
Hellickson struck out six and allowed only three singles as he nailed down his first win to even his record at 1-1. No Oakland runner got as far as second base. and he retired 10 Oakland batters in a row before yielding to Joel Peralta to start the eighth inning.
"Jeremy was outstanding," Maddon said. "He pitched aggressively, threw his fastball, used his changeup at the right time, used his curve. I just liked the aggressive nature."
Peralta pitched a 1-2-3 inning before Fernando Rodney finished off the A's for his second save.
Jarrod Parker took the loss for Oakland (12-6), but he deserved better, striking out a season-high five and allowing only six hits. It was the second time in four starts that the A's failed to get a run for Parker, as his record dropped to 0-3.
"I've been putting in work, and it's coming along," Parker said. "It's a process. Tonight was something good to build off of. I need to work towards not giving up one run. You lose 1-0, those are the ones that get you because you know one pitch is the difference in the game."
That one pitch to Joyce was a 3-2 fastball that Parker put right down the middle.
"I wish I could go back and get it," Parker said, "but it happens."
Joyce led off the bottom of the second inning with a line-drive homer to right-center field. It was his second homer of the season and his first since he ended a game against Baltimore on April 3 with a walk-off homer.
A base-running error by A's second baseman Eric Sogard led to a rare unassisted double play by an outfielder when Sogard, on first base with an infield single, took off running with one out on a shallow fly to center field by Coco Crisp. Desmond Jennings easily ran down the popup and continued on to tag first base to complete the double play and end the third inning.
"I just figured I'd do it myself, I guess," Jennings said. "I looked up and the runner was almost at third base and I was heading in that direction, so why not? I figured it hadn't happened too many times, so I wanted to take it myself."
Jennings figured correctly. The play marked the first time in Tampa Bay Rays history that an outfielder completed an unassisted double play, and Jennings became the first center fielder in the major leagues to complete an unassisted double play at first base since Andy Van Slyke did it for Pittsburgh on July 7, 1992.
It wasn't a case of the runner losing track of the outs, but just a situation of trying to be too aggressive.
"He thought the ball was down and he was trying to go from first to third," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "He knew how many outs there were."
The game was the first in four this season that Hellickson did not allow a home run.
"The main thing is just keeping the ball in the yard and cutting down on walks," Hellickson said. "They are a very good team. I just wanted to go out and get ahead of guys, and I did it."
Hellickson also drew praise from Melvin, who was smarting over his club's second shutout this season.
"He pitched well," Melvin said. "He kept you off balance, and we knew that going in. He used his changeup and curve effectively and kept us off balance."
Sunday, these two teams wrap up their series, and with the success of the clubhouse disc jockey, Maddon is plotting anew.
"Actually, I have something else planned for tomorrow," Maddon said, "but I can definitely say that DJ Fresh is definitely a pitching DJ. We win 1-0. He's also a defensive DJ."
NOTES: The A's entered Saturday's game with the second-best record in the American League at 12-5. Only Boston (12-4) had a better record. ... The A's were 84-43 (.661) dating to last June 2, which is the best record in the majors by 4 1/2 games and the best in the American League by 7 1/2 games. ... The loss on Friday was the first loss of the season for the A's on the road. They were previously 6-0.