ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The hottest lineup in the American League went cold for three days against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Roberto Hernandez pitched six effective innings Sunday for his first win since he was known as Fausto Carmona, and the Rays completed a sweep of the Oakland Athletics with an 8-1 victory.
The Athletics, who still lead the league in run production, batted .179 without a home run and scored only four runs in the three-game series.
``I'd be stupid to blame it all on the offense and not give their pitching staff credit,' said Brandon Moss, who went 0-for-4 as Oakland's cleanup hitter Sunday. ``They did an outstanding job of keeping us off-balance all series . . . Obviously we didn't do our jobs today, or I know I didn't with guys in scoring position, but they made some really good pitches.'
Despite getting only three hits Sunday, the A's had several chances for big innings and left nine men on base.
``We've been very good about getting big hits this season in those situations,' said manager Bob Melvin. ``We just didn't in this series.'
Hernandez (1-3) allowed one run, three hits, three walks and had seven strikeouts in his first win since Sept. 20, 2011, while with Cleveland.
The 32-year old right-hander was arrested in January 2012 in the Dominican Republic on false identity charges - as Carmona. They were dropped after he completed a work program.
Oakland starter Tommy Milone (3-1) had his season-opening three-game winning streak end. The left-hander gave up six runs and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings.
The Rays took a 3-0 lead in the first. Ryan Roberts scored the first run from third when Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick dropped Evan Longoria's fly. After later loading the bases, Sean Rodriguez drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch and Kelly Johnson hit a sacrifice fly.
Yunel Escobar made it 4-0 with a second-inning homer. The ways the A's hit in the series, that was a big deficit.
``That's the game. It happens. We're not going to score 10 runs every game, as much as we would like that as pitchers,' Milone said. ``It's going to happen and we've got to do our best to keep the team in the game. That's our job.'
Reddick cut the deficit to 4-1 on Oakland's first hit, a two-out RBI single in the fourth. The Athletics failed to score after loading the bases with two outs during the fifth when Brandon Moss flew out to right on a 3-2 pitch.
Oakland went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position against Hernandez, and 1 for 13 overall. The Athletics had three hits in 25 at_bats in the series with runners in scoring position.
``So you just move on. Don't dwell on it. You've got to take your losses, take your lumps just like you take your wins,' said Moss. ``Obviously when we're on winning streaks we play with confidence, but we never get too high. And it would be stupid for us to get down on ourselves after three losses, especially when they pitched as well as they did.'
NOTES: Hernandez became the first Tampa Bay starter 31-years old or older to get a win since Mark Hendrickson on June 20, 2006 . . . Oakland LHP Brett Anderson, who left after the first inning with a sprained right ankle on Friday, threw off a bullpen mound. Melvin said he has a good feeling that Anderson will be able to make his start Wednesday. ``Threw a very aggressive side today,' Melvin said. ``We made him go after it like he would in a game.' ... Tampa Bay DH Luke Scott (strained right calf) could start a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday. ... Athletics OF Yoenis Cespedes (strained left hand muscle) could be ready to resume batting practice in the next few days.
The Associated Press News Service
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