OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Johnny Damon reached another milestone on his way toward 3,000 hits. Like the rest of his Tampa Bay teammates, he didn't go very far after that.
Damon hit his 506th career double to tie Babe Ruth for 47th on baseball's all-time list but the Rays continued to struggle with men on base, stranding eight runners in 6-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
Fittingly, Damon did not get the ball from his hit - appropriate since Tampa Bay isn't doing much worth remembering these days.
``It's definitely a big deal but Babe also hit almost 500 more homers than I did,' Damon joked. ``His balls were leaving the ballpark. Tonight I had to hustle to get that one. The biggest thing is to just get my bat going again.'
Damon went 1 for 4 and is two hits shy of tying Luis Aparicio for 66th on the career list. He needs 325 hits to reach 3,000.
Tampa Bay lost for the 10th time in 14 games.
The Rays are 1 for 20 with runners in scoring position during the first two games of this four-game series.
``That's been one of our biggest drawbacks this season,' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ``It hasn't been one of the strong points. We just have been very inconsistent on offense. That's where we are coming up a little short right now.'
Cliff Pennington had three hits to remain the hottest hitter in the major leagues since the All-Star break, Conor Jackson went 3 for 4 and Hideki Matsui added an RBI double as Oakland won for the third time in four games. The A's are 7-4 since the break.
Pennington singled twice and had an RBI double in the sixth, extending his career-high hitting streak to 10 games. He raised his average to .500 (18 for 36) since the All-Star break.
That's been a big factor in the A's recent success. Oakland has scored four or more runs in each of its last six games - the club's longest such streak of the season.
Oakland starter Brandon McCarthy hadn't made it out of the sixth inning in his previous three starts and was knocked around by Detroit in his most recent outing on July 20.
The lanky right-hander, who missed more than six weeks while on the disabled list with a stress reaction in his right scapula, rebounded nicely against Tampa Bay. McCarthy (3-5) pitched with runners on base in each of the first six innings but worked out of trouble each time to win for only the second time in his last 12 starts.
McCarthy, who struck out three and walked two, lost his shutout bid with one out in the seventh when Ben Zobrist homered for the second straight game.
``A couple I left elevated they hit hard but for the most part I felt like I was able to keep it down a little better than I have recently, so it didn't hurt anything,' McCarthy said. ``Since I've come back I haven't really gotten as deep into games as I would like so that was kind of a priority tonight. I wanted to make sure I got as deep as I could.'
Grant Balfour pitched the ninth to complete the seven-hitter.
Tampa Bay starter David Price (9-9) allowed four runs over six innings and walked four - two of which scored. The left-hander is 1-3 with two no-decisions over his last six starts.
``Right now it's frustrating. The whole thing was frustrating,' Price said. ``I have to get back to form. This is getting old, the way I'm throwing. We need to play better and it starts with pitching.'
Scott Sizemore scored on Jemile Weeks' sacrifice fly in the third, while David DeJesus drove in Josh Willingham with a sacrifice fly against Price in the fourth.
Pennington made it 3-0 when he singled leading off the fifth and scored on Matsui's double to right-center, then doubled in Sizemore in the sixth.
Kurt Suzuki added a two-run double in the eighth.
Zobrist walked his first two at_bats and flied out to right before homering in the eighth. It was the fourth home run allowed by McCarthy this season.
Notes: Zobrist leads the majors with 51 extra-base hits. ... It was the 704th consecutive game Tampa Bay has started a pitcher younger than 30 years old, tying a major league record set by the Washington Senators from, 1913-17. The Rays will break the mark Wednesday when 29-year-old James Shields takes the mound. ... Tampa Bay optioned LHP Cesar Ramos to Triple-A Durham and recalled RHP Jay Buente. Buente arrived in the fifth inning after flying from Durham, N.C. to Miami and then to San Francisco. He relieved Price in the seventh. ... Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton is in a 3-for-38 slump.
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