Hammel pitches well as Oakland blanks Rays

By From page B1 | August 06, 2014

OAKLAND — Jason Hammel pitched scoreless ball into the sixth inning to snap a four-start losing streak since being traded to Oakland, leading the Athletics past the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-0, on Tuesday night.

Hammel (1-4) allowed seven hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings. He entered the game with a 9.53 ERA since the A’s acquired him and Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs on July 4.

Coco Crisp singled home a run in the fifth and Nate Freiman hit an RBI double during a two-run sixth to spoil Drew Smyly’s debut with Tampa Bay. Smyly (6-10) gave up all three runs, seven hits and two walks, including one intentional, in 5 1/3 innings.

The left-hander was traded from Detroit last week in the three-team deal that sent ace David Price to the Tigers.

The Rays committed three errors in an unusually sloppy performance from manager Joe Maddon’s club. Tampa Bay has lost three straight and five of six after an 11-1 stretch.

It was still a far better performance for Smyly than his last start in Oakland, when he allowed six runs — including four home runs — in Detroit’s 10-0 loss on May 26. But the Rays couldn’t crack Hammel, who pitched for Tampa Bay in 2006-08, or any of the pitchers the major-league leading A’s threw their way.

Three relievers tossed scoreless ball before Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 20 tries.

Oakland broke through in the fifth on Crisp’s RBI single. The A’s center fielder and speedy leadoff man had not started since July 26 because of a strained neck.

Freiman hit an RBI double and Josh Reddick singled home another run in the sixth to give the A’s a 3-0 lead.

Hammel left to a standing ovation in the sixth. He saluted the announced crowd of 16,335 as he walked to the dugout a winner for the first time in Oakland.

Notes: Oakland’s Sonny Gray (12-4, 2.59) will start the series finale after winning AL Pitcher of the Month for July. … A’s shortstop Jed Lowrie sat out with a bruised right index finger. He is day to day. First baseman Kyle Blanks (left calf injury) ran the bases and will do so again Thursday before Oakland decides whether to send him out on a rehab assignment.

The Associated Press

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