Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria hit a two-run homer and Ben Zobrist had a pair of RBI singles to help the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Oakland Athletics 8-3 on Friday night.
Jose Lobaton also drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single to back the pitching of Alex Cobb (2-1), who allowed three runs and 10 hits over 7 1/3 innings.
Brandon Moss and Jed Lowrie, who went 4 for 4, had run-scoring singles off Cobb in the first for the A's. Starting pitcher Brett Anderson (1-3) left with an ankle injury after Tampa Bay scored four times in the bottom half of the inning. Coco Crisp extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning double and added a solo homer off Cobb in the seventh.
Oakland loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth before Fernando Rodney -- in a non-save situation - struck out John Jaso and got Seth Smith to ground into a game-ending double play.
Longoria homered for the fourth time in five games and has reached base safely in each of the Rays' 16 games. Only two players in franchise history have had longer streaks to begin a season - Rocco Baldelli (24 in 2003) and Jorge Cantu (20 in 2005).
The Tampa Bay star went deep in the fourth inning off Evan Scribner, who allowed an RBI single to Ryan Roberts in the third and Zobrist earlier in the fourth.
Before Lobaton's hit made it 4-2, the Rays had gone 0 for 12 with the bases loaded this season. Four of Tampa Bay's first five runs were driven in by the bottom half of the batting order, with the switch-hitting Lobaton and Roberts each picking up their first RBI of the year.
The A's said a sprained right ankle forced Anderson's departure after allowing four runs, four hits and two walks during a 36-pitch first inning.
Oakland, which had won three straight, scored twice in the first before a baserunning mistake cost them a chance for an even bigger inning. Moss was tagged out in a rundown between first and second base on his RBI single, helping Cobb escape the jam and settle in after a shaky start. The A's didn't have another man reach base until Lowrie singled leading off the fourth.
Lowrie ended Cobb's night with a one-out double in the eighth.
A moment of silence was observed to remember the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. ... Lobaton's two-run single snapped Tampa Bay's string of 14 consecutive at-bats without a hit with the bases-loaded, a stretch that began last Sept. 21. ... Oakland OF Yoenis Cespedes (strained left hand muscle) is playing catch but hasn't resumed swinging a bat. "The swelling is down, the range of motion is getting better each and every day," manager Bob Melvin said. ... Oakland INF Hiro Nakajima (strained left hamstring) will join the Athletics' extended spring training team on Monday. ... Oakland INF Adam Rosales (strained left intercostal muscle) is expected to remain on a minor league rehab through the middle of next week. ... The A's reinstated Moss from the paternity list and optioned OF-INF Shane Peterson to Triple-A Sacramento. Moss had two hits off Cobb.
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