There's no other way to put it. The A's were owned by James Shields and the Rays tonight. Shields showed why the Rays kept him, hurling a 3-hit 11-K shutout en route to his 9th win. The A's did not make solid contact, and appeared to be off-balance all night. It's probably fair to say that the offensive highlight for the A's was George Kotteras' first hit in the green and gold, as he roped a single to RF with two out in the 8th. A close second was the Pie Guy doing the bernie on camera.
Tommy Milone was more like RoadMilone than HomeMilone today. The game remained scoreless until the top of the 3rd. After getting Desmond Jennings to ground to Eric Sogard with runners on 1st and 3rd, the A's managed to botch a rundown play, allowing runners to end up on 2nd and 3rd. An RBI single and RBI groundout followed, and the Rays took a 2-0 lead that would prove to be enough. Fast forward to the 6th, and the Rays would tack on 3 more on two RBI singles by Jeff Keppinger and Sean Rodriguez, respectively, and a sacrifice fly by Carlos Pena. A fielding error in the 7th by Brandon Hicks pushed across the sixth run for the Rays.
The A's MVPs of the game might be Evan Scribner and Jim Miller, for saving the rest of the bullpen for tomorrow. Scribner relieved Milone in the 7th and pitched 2+ innings,. Miller closed down the tap for the night, inheriting Scribner's bases loaded mess in the 9th and allowing the Rays to tack on two additional runs
I don't want to be too negative, though. The A's just completed their best July in franchise history, are still only 3.5 games behind the Rangers for the division lead, and have the 2nd wild card in grasp. The immediate feature promises more exciting Oakland A's baseball.
And, of course, this is baseball and there is another game tomorrow. The A's look to take another series from an AL East opponent at 12:35 tomorrow. Join baseballgirl for the gamethread then!