OAKLAND - Second and third and one out and the score tied in the eighth inning. The Tampa Bay Rays finally had some life Friday night at the Oakland Coliseum.
James Loney finished off a marathon at-bat with an RBI double.
The dugout had come alive, although that might have had something to do with Fernando Rodney being locked in the dugout bathroom and his teammates' efforts to free the closed-in closer.
But Desmond Jennings went down swinging and Kelly Johnson took offense with a called third strike.
You know what happens next.
Leadoff single, aggressive base-running keeps A's out of double play, soft double to right field.
The A's took over the wild card lead with a 4-3 victory against the Rays, who now trail the Red Sox by 3 1/2 games in the American League East.
“We didn't get the hit when we needed it,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said, “and that's what it came down to.”
Rays starter David Price pitched into the eighth inning and left after allowing a leadoff single to Coco Crisp. He lost for the second time since coming off the disabled list July 2.
Joel Peralta came on and got Josh Donaldson to hit a ground ball to Yunel Escobar. But Crisp was running, an unusual move with a 2-2 count, and stayed out of the double play.
Jed Lowrie then lined the ball into right field to score Crisp with the go-ahead run.
“I got what I wanted,” Peralta said. “It was a lucky move right there. I got the ground ball I wanted. Bad luck.”
The Rays tied the score at 3-3 with two runs in the top of the inning when David DeJesus singled and Ben Zobrist walked to start the inning.
That was all for A's starter Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook replaced Parker and allowed a bloop single to right by Evan Longoria to load the bases. Longoria snapped an 0-for-18 slide with the hit.
Matt Joyce sliced a sacrifice fly to left field to score DeJesus.
Loney, who didn't have an extra base hit this month up until that inning, finished a 10-pitch at-bat with s sinking line drive to center field. Chris Young tried to make a diving catch on the ball but couldn't. Zobrist scored easily, but Longoria, who didn't get a good read on the line drive, advanced only to third as Loney pulled in to second base with a double.
“I would say that Longo had a different look at it as opposed to the runner on second base did. That's probably why he did that,” Maddon said. “I had no problem with that. Listen, second and third, I'll take it. Tie ball game. Move the baseball and you have a chance to win.”
That didn't happen.
Trailing 1-0, the A's took a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning on a three-run homer by Kurt Suzuki. The inning began when Alberto Callaspo reached on a throwing error by Zobrist. It was Zobrist's first error in 82 games, a team record for second basemen.
Price then walked Young, his first and only walk of the game.
“I don't think he walks Chris Young unless that error is made,” Zobrist said. “He was just cruising until that point. I just threw it a little bit too hard and too high. It just got away from me. It happens every once in a while. It's kind of a bummer that it really cost us.”
Price had allowed only two hits through the first four innings. Maddon said the inning turned on the walk, but Price disagreed.
“In some cases walks aren't bad. I don't think that was a very bad walk,” Price said. “I got an out on the next batter, Brandon Moss, and I want a double play. I didn't get it. Didn't make a good enough pitch and it kind of cost us.”
Price got Moss looking at a called third strike.
Up came the catcher Suzuki. Price was looking to get a ground ball for an inning-ending double play. Instead he hung a changeup, and Suzuki lined it over the left field wall for a three-run homer.
“He's swung the bat well against me every since I've been in the big leagues,” Price said. “He's just one of those hitters.”
The loss capped a tough day for the Rays, who began a 10-game, three-city trip to the West Coast.
Construction on the Bay Bridge resulted in a detour by the team bus and a 1 hour, 43 minute bus ride from the team hotel in San Francisco to Oakland - about an hour longer than it normally takes.
Price, who took a cab, was stuck with a $202 fare. He also took the loss, the Rays' fifth in six games.
About the only thing that made anyone on the Rays' side smile was Rodney being locked in the dugout bathroom for about 15 minutes until someone broke the lock with a baseball bat.
“We kind of rallied then,” Maddon said. “We should have kept him in there.”
The eighth-inning rally was another positive, at least through Loney's at-bat.
“I thought our team did a great job of really rallying in the eighth, there, and coming back,” Zobrist said. “It felt a little bit dead offensively until that point. To see our bench kind of going crazy and getting really into it, I think that's good, especially considering the last few games for us and how tough it's been.
“There's still a lot of life. We expect to come back (tonight).”
The Rays are 11-14 in August and are ensured a losing record for the month for the first time since 2006 ... Jennings has eight walks and six strikeouts and a .114 batting average since returning from the disabled list ... The Rays announced after the game that C Chris Gimenez, DH Delmon Young and RHP Josh Lueke will join the team tonight in Oakland and be added to the roster Sunday when rosters expand ... DH Luke Scott (lower back spasms) will also return tonight from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Durham and be reexamined. He is expected to be added to the roster Sunday.