Fresh off the “Reverse Boycott” game last night which created a buzz across the Bay Area and beyond, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics played game three of the four-game set at the Coliseum Wednesday night. Tonight’s attendance fell short of yesterday’s at 7,055. While this may not be a factor considering this is right below the average for A’s weekday attendance (as they’re averaging 8,887 fans per game) but a mere fifteen minutes before tonight’s first pitch the Nevada Legislature passed the public funding bill on to the governor for his (almost) certain signature.
A’s skipper Mark Kotsay sent righthander Luis Medina (1-5, 7.53 ERA) to the mound against Rays righty Tyler Glasnow (1-0, 2.87 ERA). Glasnow made just his fourth start of the season after being activated from the Injured List (IL) May 27th.
The Rays started off with two consecutive hits, but before Luis Medina threw a pitch to Josh Lowe, the Rays third batter, he and his teammates had cleared the bases. JJ Bleday took Wander Franco’s base hit and hurled a bullet to Jonah Bride nabbing Yandy Diaz attempting to go from first to third. Franco took off on Medina’s first motion, except that motion was a pickoff move, and he was quickly tagged for out number two. Josh Lowe’s ground out to end the inning seemed rather boring comparatively speaking.
Randy Arozarena walked to lead off the second inning. Isaac Paredes then doubled to left field. Christian Bethancourt drove Arozarena home with a sacrifice fly to right fielder Seth Brown. Paredes advanced to third on the throw home. But Taylor Walls grounded out to Ryan Noda on a nice defensive play to end the inning.
Brent Rooker led off the bottom of the second with a bloop double down the right field line. Jace Peterson moved him to third with an infield groundout. But with Rooker taking off on contact, Jonah Bride grounded to Paredes at third who nabbed Rooker easily at the plate. Aledmys Diaz singled to right, moving Bride to second. Then JJ Bleday launched a 96-mph fastball into the center field bleachers for a 3-run homer. After two innings, the A’s led 3-1.
Esteury Ruiz took the first pitch of bottom of the third inning and sent it into centerfield for a base hit. He then stole second. It was his lead leading 32nd stolen base, ten ahead of the Ray’s Wander Franco in second position. Ruiz then stole third. But three straight K’s left Ruiz at third.
Taylor Walls singled with one out in the top of the fifth. He stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw. Manuel Margot doubled to score Walls, and Yandy Diaz doubled to score Margot. Margot’s run tied the score at three. Diaz moved to third on a Franco fly out to center. That chased Medina who pitched 4-2/3 with eight hits and 4 earned runs. Josh Lowe singled to score Diaz and close the book on Medina’s night and give the Rays a 4-3 lead.
Seth Brown singled to open the sixth. After falling behind 1-2 Brent Rooker fought back for a walk moving Brown to second. Jonah Bride worked a walk to load the bases and chase Tyler Glasnow with one out. But an Aledmys Diaz double play ball ended the inning.
Manuel Margot doubled to lead off the seventh inning. A throwing error by reliever Lucas Erceg moved Manuel to third and then a wild pitch on ball four walked Yandy Diaz and allowed Margot to score. As the Oakland faithful stretched, the score was now 5-3.
Sam Long replaced Erceg with runners on first and second and just one out in the eighth inning. Long picked off Luke Raley trying to steal third and then induced a Taylor Walls pop out to fellow batterymate Shea Langeliers to end the inning.
Manuel Margot doubled off the glove of JJ Bleday in left field and was immediately driven in by Yandy Diaz bringing the score to 6-3 in favor of the Rays. Long walked Wander Franco. But Sam Long regained focus and struck out the next three he faced to end the inning.
Jace Peterson led off the bottom of the ninth with a base hit against Rays closer Jason Adam. But Adam shut down the next three hitters to nail down the win for the Rays. This brings the win streak to a close, but they fell to the team with the best record in baseball. The two teams will go at it again tomorrow with day baseball at the Coliseum.