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Oakland Athletics sock four homers, hand Tampa Bay Rays first loss

Sportsnaut
Apr 11, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Elvis Andrus (17) slides into second base after hitting a double ahead of the throw to Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco (5) during the first inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Elvis Andrus went 3-for-5 with one of Oakland’s four homers, starter Paul Blackburn fired five shutout innings and the A’s handed the Tampa Bay Rays their first defeat of the season, 13-2 on Monday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Andrus popped a three-run home run for an 8-0 lead during a four-run second inning. In the Oakland first, Seth Brown hit a three-run blast and Chad Pinder followed with a solo shot.

Blackburn (1-0) cruised from there, giving up just three hits and a walk while striking out seven.

Oakland’s Sheldon Neuse capped a three-hit night with a ninth-inning grand slam. Andrus also singled, doubled and scored two runs, and Pinder added a double.

Rays starter Luis Patino (0-1) left in the top of the first after tossing just 13 pitches and getting two outs. The club’s No. 4 starter squatted in pain and was removed with what was diagnosed as a left oblique strain.

Chris Mazza relieved and allowed seven hits and eight runs — six earned — over three frames, including three long balls.

Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco continued his sizzling start with a 3-for-4 night — his third three-hit game — to push his average to .600 (9-for-15). Franco finished with two singles, a double and two runs.

Ji-Man Choi went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Rays, who became the last major league team to lose a game.

After Patino exited with a runner on second base, Mazza inherited an 0-2 count against Sean Murphy, then hit the catcher with a pitch. Brown followed with a three-run homer to right, his second, to put the Rays behind for the first time in 2022.

Mazza fell behind 3-0 to Pinder, and the left fielder hit his second homer — a shot to right-center –for a 4-0 lead.

After an error by Rays second baseman Taylor Walls in the second allowed a run to score, Andrus unloaded on a hanging breaking ball, belting it to deep left.

Oakland made it 9-0 in the fourth on Murphy’s RBI fielder’s choice, and the Rays’ Josh Lowe answered with a run-scoring fielder’s choice in the sixth. Choi singled home a run in the eighth.

Tampa Bay outfielder Brett Phillips pitched the last two innings and allowed a two-out grand slam to Neuse in the ninth — Oakland’s third four-run frame.

–Field Level Media