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Rays 4, A’s 3: Road Willy Rides Again

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Road Willy with a blast, and Mike Zunino is good behind the dish.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Oakland Athletics Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

On the 11th anniversary of the Dallas Braden Mother’s Day perfect game, the Rays rallied from an early deficit to knock off the Oakland A’s 4-3. The win salvaged the series and gave the Rays a nice 5-2 road trip.

Shane McClanahan got the start for the Rays. Meanwhile, Cole Irvin was on the hill for the A’s, against a Rays lineup that looked like this:

Randy Arozarena ensured there would be no perfect game today when he rifled the first pitch of the day into left for a single. However, the Rays were unable to get anything else. In fact, Randy’s hit would be the Rays baserunner for a while, as Irvin cruised.

Things were a lot tougher for McClanahan. In the bottom of the first, the A’s made Sugar Shane work, extending him to 25 pitches while working long at bats, including scratching out a walk and a single. But Shane was able to navigate through the debris and keep the A’s off the board.

McClanahan then briefly found his groove, sitting down the side in order in the second and the third, while getting his pitch count back in order.

But things came apart in the fourth. He was on his way to sitting down the side in order again when Chapman turned around 100 and singled to left. A walk to Brown and a Piscotty bloop RBI single put Oakland up 1-0.

A wild pitch moved Piscotty up to put runners on second and third, and a Moreland single to center drove in both baserunners. 3-0 A’s.

An Andrus drive to center was run down by Phillips to escape further damage.

The Rays got their second baserunner in the fifth when catcher Sean Murphy dropped a pop up, allowing Brosseau to reach. Wendle followed with a double up the right field line on a ball that, frankly, should have been fielded by Olson, and probably should have been a double play.

The Rays made Oakland pay for the free baserunners. After a Zunino pop out, Road Willy saw a pitch he liked and drove an oppo liner out to right.

3-3 game!

Springs took over for the bottom of the fifth and retired the side in order, with a couple Ks. He would end up being credited with the win.

That’s because with two outs in the top of the sixth, Mike Brosseau took a 1-2 slider that got too much of the plate out to left.

Love that compact swing. 4-3 Rays!

Ryan Thompson took over for the bottom of the sixth. With one out, he gave up a Chapman infield single to Wendle at third on a ball that looked foul. The Rays bounced back by turning a nifty 3-6-3 double play.

Old Friend Sergio Romo and Old Friend Once Removed Burch Smith worked the 7th, 8th, and 9th for the A’s, sitting down the Rays in order in each inning.

Thompson came back out for the seventh to face Piscotty, who he got to fly out to left. Cash then made the call for Fairbanks. With two outs, Margot made an ill advised dive in right, leading to an Andrus triple.

The 1-0 pitch to Canha bounced, but Zunino made a sensational pick to keep the runner at third. The next pitch was lined hard to center, but right at Phillips. Crisis averted.

Fairbanks stayed on for the eighth, striking out Lowrie and walking Olson. Cash then made the call for Andrew Kittredge. Kitt fanned Murphy, then gave up a lob wedge single to left by Chapman, bringing up Ray killer Seth Brown.

Thankfully, the A’s took the bat out of his hands. Kitt’s 0-1 pitch got away from Zunino, but Matt Olson got a late break, allowing Zunino to scramble after the ball and nail the the big first baseman at third.

Andrew Kittredge stayed on for the ninth. He fanned Brown looking on a nice 1-2 slider. Next, he got Piscotty to line out to right. Kitt then walked Moreland on a very close 3-2 slider. Finally, with Kemp on to pinch run, Kittredge got Andrus to ground to third.

Rays win!

The Rays are off tomorrow. The host the Yankees for a three game set at the Trop starting Tuesday. Game time is 7:10.