OAKLAND -- Tampa Bay has found a nice little trend to try to wriggle back into the AL East race.
The Rays won three consecutive series on one road trip -- and for the first time ever, they did so against three teams above .500. Tampa Bay wrapped the final series of the trip with a 4-1 victory over the A's at the O.co Coliseum, cooling off July's hottest team for the second game in a row.
Alex Cobb followed up James Shields' three-hit shutout Tuesday with a strong effort on Wednesday. He allowed four hits, one walk and one run in his seven innings.
Oakland has lost consecutive games for the first time since dropping three in a row to Texas (June 28-30).
Tampa Bay center fielder B.J. Upton provided not one, but two sacrifice bunts -- his first of the season. The first helped the Rays to score their first run of the game off Oakland starter Jarrod Parker. Desmond Jennings singled to open the game, Upton moved him to second, a groundout by Ben Zobrist put him at third and Matt Joyce singled him in.
Ryan Roberts, the Rays' lone acquisition before the deadline, drove in Jeff Keppinger with a base hit in the fourth inning, while Carlos Pena provided an RBI double in the sixth. Pena, the one-time Oakland first baseman, added a solo homer to right off Jordan Norberto in the eighth inning.
Parker gave up eight hits, three walks and three runs in six innings. The Oakland rookie had won five of his previous six decisions.
Oakland's only run came on Brandon Inge's homer to left leading off the fifth. That exended Inge's hitting streak to 11 games, a team high.
A's right fielder Josh Reddick, the team's top all-around player much of the season, went 0 for 4 to extend his hitless streak to a career-high 21 at-bats. Reddick has not recorded a hit since slamming into the wall in right field making the final out of Friday's game at Baltimore, a play that knocked the wind out of him.
NOTES: The Rays released designated hitter Hideki Matsui, who had been designated for assignment last week. ... A's manager Bob Melvin said that right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who has been out for more than a month with shoulder soreness, will make a second rehab start for Class AAA Sacramento on Saturday. ... Left-hander Brett Anderson will make a rehab start for Sacramento on Sunday. Anderson had Tommy John surgery just over a year ago. He is expected to make at least one more rehab start after that before rejoining the A's. ... Oakland shortstop Cliff Pennington, out since July 20 with a sore left elbow, will take batting practice on the field on Thursday and he will go on a rehab assignment on Friday. ... A's outfielder Coco Crisp did a workout on the field and he might be available to play Thursday, according to manager Bob Melvin. Crisp came out of Saturday's game at Baltimore with left hamstring tightness and has not played since. ... Left-hander Dallas Braden, whose throwing session to hitters last week was cut short by a groin strain, played catch Wednesday and he is likely to throw off the mound again soon. Braden has been sidelined since undergoing left shoulder surgery in May 2011.