Rodriguez's homer nudges Rays past A's

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 4:38 PM ET

Oakland, CA – Sean Rodriguez hit a go-ahead, game-winning two-run homer with two outs in the eighth, and the Tampa Bay Rays slipped past the Oakland A's, 5-4, in the third of four games at Oakland Coliseum.

Rodriguez's eighth home run of the season lifted the Rays to their sixth win in eight games, although it was just their first victory in this series. Evan Longoria also added a home run in the win.

David Price was pedestrian in his search of win No. 16, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk while fanning five in six innings. Randy Choate (3-3) earned the win for a scoreless inning, and Rafael Soriano picked up his 36th save.

The Rays remained one game behind New York in the AL East after the Yankees beat Seattle earlier Saturday.

Mark Ellis had two hits and two RBI for the A's, who had a four-game win streak snapped. Daric Barton went 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored in defeat.

Brett Anderson was in line for the win, throwing Oakland's record-14th straight quality start. In addition, he lasted seven innings -- marking the 20th consecutive game in which the A's starter has pitched six innings -- and allowed two runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out eight.

Craig Breslow (4-4) took the loss for giving up three runs in two-thirds of an inning.

After the Rays tied the game in the top of the sixth, the A's went back in front in the home half.

Barton worked a leadoff walk, and Kurt Suzuki followed with a sharp lineout to third. On the play, Longoria tried to throw Barton out retreating to first, but the throw went awry, allowing Barton to take second.

Two batters later, with two outs, Ellis doubled to center to plate Barton, and Rajai Davis followed with an RBI single for a 4-2 game.

After Anderson pitched a scoreless seventh, Breslow came on for the eighth. Carlos Pena walked with one away, and, two batters later, Willy Aybar sent an RBI double to the gap in right-center. Rodriguez followed with a blast over the wall in center to put the Rays ahead, 5-4.

"I kept telling myself to make sure I stay on the fastball because he's been throwing me a lot of fastballs," Rodriguez said. "I was fortunate I got a good pitch and put a good swing on it."

After Choate gave up a leadoff single in the eighth, Chad Qualls retired three straight batters to maintain the one-run lead. Soriano threw a perfect ninth to polish off the win.

"That's really uncharacteristic of Craig," Ellis said. "You have to give their team credit, they hit the ball well. This is a tough loss. We knew we had a chance to gain a game today and it is a tough one for us to lose."

With the loss, the A's remain seven games behind AL West-leading Texas, which was beaten at Baltimore earlier Saturday.

The Athletics got started with two runs in the opening inning.

Price quickly loaded the bases with nobody out after a pair of singles and a hat batsman. Kevin Kouzmanoff opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly, and Ellis followed with an RBI single.

Longoria had an answer right away for Tampa Bay, blasting a leadoff homer in the second to cut the Rays' deficit in half.

The pitchers took control until the sixth, when the visitors tied the game. Carl Crawford led off the inning with a single, went to third on a Pena double and scored on Ben Zobrist's sacrifice fly for a 2-2 game.

Game Notes

The 13-game quality start streak for the A's ran from August 4-17, 1980. The team record for consecutive six-inning starts is 25...The Rays are 28-13 when a lefty starts for the opposing team.


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