Cabrera lifts Oakland past Tampa Bay
July 12, 2009
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Oakland Athletics didn’t play like a team entering the All-Star break with a losing record for the first time in a decade.
Orlando Cabrera hit a tiebreaking RBI single in Oakland’s four-run seventh, leading the Athletics to a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
Kurt Suzuki and pinch-hitter Jack Cust each singled in a run and Mark Ellis drove in Landon Powell with a groundout to set up Cabrera’s hit off Chad Bradford.
“Playing a great team like Tampa Bay and taking two out of three at their place where they play awesome baseball is a nice confidence boost,” Suzuki said.
Oakland (37-49) last went into the break with a sub .500 record during the 1999 season (43-44).
Suzuki and Ryan Sweeney tacked on RBI singles in the eighth and Ellis connected in the ninth to make it 7-3.
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“To take games from this team is no easy job,” Ellis said. “Especially to come from behind, which is not something we’ve done a lot of this year.”
Oakland starter Brett Anderson left after four scoreless innings due to lower back stiffness. The left-hander, coming off a two-hitter in a 6-0 win over Boston Monday, gave up three hits.
“We were just monitoring it because his velocity was down a bit,” manager Bob Geren said. “It got to the point that I thought for numerous reasons he should exit the game. It stiffened up and it could have been a potential injury.”
Michael Wuertz (5-1) got the win despite allowing a run and three hits in 1 1-3 innings and Andrew Bailey got six outs for his 10th save.
Rays right-hander James Shields took a shutout into the seventh, but wound up allowing three runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings.
“It was strange,” Shields said. “I was cruising. That’s just kind of how the game goes sometimes.”
Tampa Bay has lost two in a row at home after winning nine straight at Tropicana Field.
“They were tough losses,” manager Joe Maddon said. “All of a sudden they bit us. I thought we had a nice thing going on there.”
Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead in the sixth on a two-run double by Pat Burrell and Jason Bartlett’s RBI single off Wuertz.
“It was very disappointing,” Rays right fielder Ben Zobrist said. “It was a tight game up to when we scored those three runs. It was a tough day for our bullpen. They have been pitching so well.”
The Rays have allowed just 26 runs in the seventh this season, but were touched for four during the inning in each of the past two games.
Dan Wheeler (3-2), who followed Shields, was charged with one run while recording one out and took the loss.
Oakland threatened in the first, but Cabrera was thrown out by Zobrist when he tried to score on Matt Holliday’s fly ball.
Rajai Davis started in right field one day after Sweeney was benched for not running out a batted ball. Geren said putting Davis, who hit a two-run homer in Saturday’s 7-2 win over the Rays, in the lineup was a baseball decision.
Sweeney entered in the seventh after Cust hit for Davis.
NOTES: Tampa Bay All-Star LF Carl Crawford rested. He struck out as pinch hitter in the ninth. … Cabrera has a hit in 21 of his last 23 games. … Geren said his post All-Star break rotation will be LHP Dallas Braden, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Vin Mazzaro, Anderson and LHP Gio Gonzalez. … Athletics 1B Jason Giambi (bruised right elbow) was sore, but was available off the bench. … Suzuki has a career-high 10 game hitting streak. … Burrell has 10 RBIs in 26 games since returning from a strained neck on June 12.
Padres 10, ,Giants 4
SAN FRANCISCO – Kevin Kouzmanoff and Eliezer Alfonzo hit three-run homers, Will Venable also homered and set a career-high with four hits, and the San Diego Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 10-4 to snap a season-high seven-game losing streak.
Kevin Correia pitched five-plus strong innings for his career-best sixth win of the season, while Luis Rodriguez drove in a pair of runs for the Padres, who broke out of a month-long slump to set a season-high for scoring.
San Diego, which had scored six runs total its previous four games, had that many in the first three innings off San Francisco starter Barry Zito. Kouzmanoff and Alfonzo both homered off the Giants’ left-hander, who was tagged with his team-leading ninth loss of the season.
The Padres, who were held without a hit by San Francisco lefty Jonathan Sanchez on Friday, broke out of their offensive slump early against Zito.
Kouzmanoff’s homer came after Everth Cabrera and Venable – son of former Giants outfielder Max Venable – led off the game with singles. Alfonzo’s three-run shot to left in the third drove in Venable and Kouzmanoff, who went a combined 8 for 10 with seven runs scored.
That was enough for Correia (6-7), who gave up three runs on eight hits in his second career start against his former team. The right-hander retired 11 of 12 during one stretch and got some help from his defense before tiring in the sixth.
He gave up a pair of one-out singles in the first but got out of the inning with a 5-4-3 double play, then held the Giants offense in check until John Bowker’s solo homer in the fifth.
Correia ran into trouble in the sixth after giving up a two-out double to Bengie Molina and walking Nate Schierholtz. Edgar Renteria and Bowker followed with RBI singles to chase Correia before reliever Luke Gregerson struck out Juan Uribe to end the inning.
San Francisco added another run in the ninth off San Diego closer Heath Bell.
Zito (5-9) had yet another rocky outing. The left-hander retired the side in order just once and was booed heavily by the crowd after surrendering the three-run homer to Alfonzo.
The booing continued when Zito left the mound after giving up three hits in the fifth. All three runners eventually scored, marking the third time in Zito’s career that he has given up nine runs or more in a game.
The loss prevented San Francisco from reaching the 50-win mark before the All-Star break for the first time since 2003.
Bowker hit his first homer of the season and his first since Sept. 24, 2008 in the fifth for the Giants, who still head into the All-Star break with the third best winning percentage in the National League behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia.
Venable, whose four hits are a career high, homered off San Francisco reliever Merkin Valdez in the eighth.
NOTES: Kouzmanoff had four hits for the third time in his career … Molina was back in San Francisco’s lineup after taking two days off to be with his wife for the birth of the couple’s first child, daughter Jayda Marie, who was born early Saturday afternoon. … The Giants had been a season-high 11 games over .500 before the loss.