OAKLAND, Calif. -- Getting solo home runs from Coco Crisp and Stephen Vogt and seven solid innings from right-hander A.J. Griffin, the Oakland A's beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 on Sunday, completing a sweep of their three-game series.
Griffin (12-9) allowed just one run on five hits, earning his second straight win. He struck out seven, walked only one and threw 102 pitches, 62 for strikes.
The A's pulled to within one game of first-place Texas in the American League West and will open a three-game series against the Rangers on Monday in Oakland. The A's, who have won six of their past seven games, strengthened their hold on the AL's first wild-card spot, moving 2 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay.
The reeling Rays fell 5 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East. They've lost seven of their past eight games, including four straight. In the wild-card race, their lead for the second spot is down to three games over Baltimore.
Rays manager Joe Maddon turned Sunday's game over to his bullpen from the outset. He used seven pitchers, changing arms more often than he would in an early spring training game.
Rays right-hander Jamey Wright made his first start since Aug. 25, 2007, against Seattle for the Texas Rangers. He pitched just 1 2/3 innings, allowing one run and three hits, including Crisp's home run. Next up, lefty Alex Torres, who gave up an unearned run over 3 1/3 innings. Right-hander Brandon Gomes blanked the A's for two-thirds of an inning, and lefty Wesley Wright struck out the only batter he faced.
Lefty Jake McGee came on in the seventh and gave up one run on Vogt's blast over two-thirds of an inning. Right-hander Josh Lueke gave up two runs in two-thirds of an inning, and lefty Cesar Ramos pitched one-third of an inning.
Crisp gave the A's a quick 1-0 advantage, leading off the game with a solo home run to right field off Wright. It was Crisp's 16th home run of the season, matching his career high. It was also his fifth leadoff home run of the season and 13th of his career, 11 of those as an Athletic.
Tampa Bay pulled even in the top of the second when James Loney hit a towering home run to right-center off Griffin. The home run was the 33rd that Griffin has allowed this season, the most in the major leagues. That's also the most allowed by an Oakland pitcher since current A's pitching coach Curt Young gave up 38 homers in 1987. Griffin has allowed 18 home runs in his past 12 starts.
The A's took a 2-1 lead in the third, scoring an unearned run off Torres. With one out, Jed Lowrie dropped a bunt down the third-base line for a single and wound up on third base when Evan Longoria threw wildly to first for a two-base error. With the Rays' infield drawn in, Brandon Moss grounded an RBI single to right.
The Rays came close to pulling even again in the seventh, but Griffin escaped unscathed, thanks to a tremendous defensive play. After Wil Myers ripped a two-out double, Desmond Jennings lined a single to left, and third-base coach Tom Foley sent Myers home. That decision backfired. A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes fired a strike to third baseman Josh Donaldson, who threw home to Vogt, nailing Myers.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Vogt crushed a solo home run off McGee into the right field seats, giving the A's a 3-1 lead.
The A's added two runs in the eighth.
NOTES: The A's added four players from Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday, when major-league rosters were expanded: outfielder Michael Choice, infielders Jemile Weeks and Andy Parrino and left-handed reliever Pedro Figueroa. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Choice, the A's designated minor-league catcher Luke Montz for assignment. "They're potentially not just going to sit around," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "There's reasons for it, whether it's Jemile Weeks with his speed and switch-hitting ability. Andy Parrino is a true shortstop and had a great year defensively. Michael Choice has got some thump in his bat, a potential option against left-handed pitching, and Pedro Figueroa's got a 97 mph fastball that can make some lefties uncomfortable." ... As expected, the Rays selected OF Delmon Young from Double-A Montgomery, recalled Lueke and C Chris Gimenez from Triple-A Durham and reinstated OF/DH Luke Scott from the disabled list. ... Rays LHP Matt Moore (left elbow soreness), who has been on the DL since July 31, will start Tuesday against the Angels. LHP David Price will start Thursday against the Angels, but Maddon has yet to name a starter for Wednesday's game. RHP Chris Archer will start Monday's game.