The A’s comeback rally in the top of the ninth Saturday afternoon only set up their disappointment an inning later.
Evan Longoria doubled home Peter Bourjos in the bottom of the 10th and the Tampa Bay Rays rang up a 6-5 victory in the opener of a doubleheader at Tropicana Field.
Oakland trailed 5-4 entering the ninth but tied the game on back-to-back doubles from Yonder Alonso and Ryon Healy. But in the 10th, Peter Bourjos singled and went to second on a wild pitch from Liam Hendriks. Then Longoria drilled the game-winner to the corner in left field.
Despite the late-game drama, this one played out like too many before it for the A’s. They racked up 16 hits but left too many opportunities on the bases. They made a couple sterling defensive plays, yet also turned in a couple of costly errors. In the end they did just enough wrong, and Tampa Bay has claimed the first two of this four-game series. The second game of Saturday’s twin bill was scheduled to begin about 40 minutes after the first, with Sean Manaea taking the hill for Oakland.
Early offense, but not enough: The A’s racked up 16 hits and jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but left 13 men on base. Those missed chances wound up costing them.
Another untimely error does damage: After the Rays took a 4-3 lead in the sixth, they stole another run on a play where the A’s should have had the third out. Michael Martinez reached on an infield single and Tim Beckham tried to score all the way from second. Yonder Alonso’s throw home was to the wrong side of the plate but arrived in plenty of time to get Beckham, but Josh Phegley couldn’t handle the throw and Tampa Bay had another run. Tampa Bay’s two-run rally in the fourth also began with a throwing error from A’s starter Sonny Gray.
A big opportunity goes to waste: Leading 3-0, the A’s had a chance to extend that lead in the fourth when they loaded the bases with no outs, but they came up empty. Matt Joyce bounced into a home-to-first double play and Chad Pinder flied out. With that, the A’s missed a chance to possibly get into the Rays bullpen early and make things more difficult for the home team during a long day of baseball.
A memorable moment for the rookie: The good, the bad for Sonny: Gray went six innings and notched his fourth career 10-strikeout game. But Tampa Bay got to him for five runs, just two of which were earned. Given a 3-0 lead, Gray gave up Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out, two-run single to make it a one-run game but struck out Tim Beckham to strand a runner at third. But Beckham would get Gray in the sixth, delivering a two-run go-ahead double, another rally that unfolded with two outs. The E-2 play at the plat with Phegley would follow to make it 5-3.