Final Score: Rays 8, A's 1
It was, if nothing else, a team effort, as the pitching, hitting and defense all conspired to make sure the A's experienced their first 3-game losing streak and did it in style.
The bottom of the 1st certainly set the tone, as Tommy Milone allowed a one out single to Ryan Roberts and then made the mistake of allowing two catchable fly balls. The first, off the bat of Ben Zobrist, fooled Chris Young and landed over Young's head for a double. The next one, a pop fly off Evan Longoria's bat, was shallow...and dropped by Josh Reddick for a run scoring E-9. Then Milone joined the party by walking Shelley Duncan to load the bases and promptly hitting Sean Rodriguez with a pitch to force in a run. Kelly Johnson's would be grand slam was caught at the wall for a mere sacrifice fly, and the Rays settled for 3 runs.
The "coup de grace," as it were, came leading off the 2nd when Yunel Escobar -- whose hitting so far this season has made Reddick look like a high-average hitter with power -- launched an improbable HR off of Milone to make it 4-0.
Hitless through 3 IPs against Roberto "Don't call me Fausto" Hernandez, the A's most certainly had their chances to come back. They scored one in the 4th thanks to an RBI single by Reddick but also left runners at 1B and 3B. They loaded the bases in the 5th but Brandon Moss flied out. They got John Jaso to 2B leading off the 6th thanks to a dropped fly ball, but couldn't get him home. They got back-to-back walks on 8 pitches to open the 7th but neither runner ever advanced. At the point where the A's were 1 for 73 with RISP, I stopped keeping track but I think they finished the day 1 for 13.
So when the Rays added 2 in the 7th off of Milone and Pat Neshek, then 2 more in the 8th against Jesse "The A's See Something In Him, But What?" Chavez, it just helped make official what was evident all series: Not the A's weekend.
With Texas currently thumping the Mariners 10-2 in the 7th, it appears the A's will slink into Boston owners of 2nd place in the AL West. Hopefully, facing Felix Doubront will prove to be the antidote to losing. It usually is.