Rays fall in 15th inning, 4-3, to Athletics

11:06 AM, Jul 31, 2012   |    comments
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jemile Weeks shook off the worst night of his career and became the latest member of the Athletics to deliver a walkoff victory.

Just another magical night in July for an Oakland team that has been the hottest in the majors since the All-Star break.

Weeks hit a sacrifice fly in the 15th inning and the A's outlasted the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 on Monday night in a game that took more than five hours.

"That's just been the way the game's been going for this team right now," Weeks said after his first career walk-off RBI. "I kind of was beating myself up before because I had some chances and didn't get it done. Another opportunity came, I just stayed confident and it worked out."

The A's improved to 19-4 this month and assured themselves of the best winning percentage in July in franchise history.

They've done it in dramatic fashion, too.

Oakland leads the majors with 12 walkoff wins this season. The A's have won three of their past four games at home in the last at-bat, extending a season-long pattern.

According to information provided by the A's from the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the first time a team has nine walk-offs wins in 17 home games since the 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers.

"This has been an awesome ride, just to be doing what we're doing," said reliever Ryan Cook, who pitched two scoreless innings. "This is exactly where we want to be."

Weeks was 0 for 7 when he came up against the Rays' five-man infield. He lofted a fly ball and Brandon Inge easily beat the throw home from center fielder B.J. Upton.

Inge began the rally with a leadoff single against Kyle Farnsworth (0-3) and advanced to second on a sacrifice. Seth Smith was intentionally walked, and Eric Sogard also walked to load the bases. The Rays then moved right fielder Ben Zobrist to the infield in hopes of getting a double play.

Weeks followed with the sacrifice fly to score Inge, who never hesitated taking off from third.

"I don't care if I got thrown out by 20 feet, I'm taking a chance on that one," Inge said.

Brandon Hicks homered for the A's while Jordan Norberto (3-1) pitched one inning for the win as Oakland improved to 8-2 in extra-inning games this season.

The game lasted 5 hours, 9 minutes and ended at 12:17 a.m.

"It stinks any time you lose a game," Tampa Bay starter David Price said. "It's tough when you play for as long as we did tonight. To not be able to win that game stings a little bit."

The A's won despite striking out an Oakland-record 21 times. Inge had four of them until his leadoff single in the 15th.

Oakland loaded the bases in the ninth and 10th but failed to score. Tampa Bay stranded runners at first and third in the 14th and first and second in the 15th.

Chris Carter and Kurt Suzuki had RBI doubles in the second to give the A's a 2-0 lead against Price.

That ended a franchise record-tying 24-inning scoreless streak by Tampa Bay pitchers that began during the weekend in Anaheim, where the Rays pitched consecutive shutouts for the first time since 2008.

Price, trying to become the majors' first 15-game winner this season, later pitched out of a two-on, two-out jam in the sixth by striking out Inge before giving up Hicks' game-tying home run in the seventh. He finished with 11 strikeouts and two walks.

Oakland starter A.J. Griffin didn't allow a hit until the fourth and ran into trouble that same inning after walking Matt Joyce. Two batters later, Carlos Pena tied it with a double into the gap in right-center that scored Jeff Keppinger and Joyce.

Matt Joyce's 12th home run of the season gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead in the sixth.

Notes

  • Oakland optioned C Derek Norris to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for George Kottaras. Kottaras was obtained in a trade from Milwaukee on Sunday.
  • The Rays are encouraged by the progress of injured 3B Evan Longoria (partial hamstring tear) but haven't set a timetable for his return.
  • RHP Jeff Niemann threw a bullpen session without setback and is scheduled to pitch a simulated game on Friday in Tampa Bay. The next step will be at least one rehab start for Niemann.
  • Rays RHP James Shields (8-7) will try to bounce back Tuesday from a shaky start when he issued a season-high five walks in 6-2 loss to Baltimore. LHP Tommy Milone (9-7) goes for Oakland.

For a complete box score, click here

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