Oakland’s Sean Murphy hit a towering two-run homer, starter Sean Manaea won his third straight start and the Athletics beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 Monday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.
In his five innings, Manaea (3-1) allowed just one run on four hits while walking two and fanning six over his 100-pitch performance.
Ramon Laureano’s double and Tony Kemp’s single accounted for the other two hits by the Athletics, who won for the 14th time in their last 15 games.
Randy Arozarena went 3-for-4 with a run and a stolen base, but the Rays managed just six hits a day after totaling five in a loss to Toronto.
In his best start this season, the Rays’ Rich Hill (1-1) gave up two runs and struck out 10 — the 17th time the left-hander has recorded double-digit strikeouts.
The game was the teams’ first meeting since the American League Wild Card Game on Oct. 2, 2019, when the Rays beat Manaea and the A’s 5-1 in Oakland to advance to the AL Division Series.
The Rays, who hit Manaea hard in that 2019 game for three home runs, were at it again in the home half of the first.
Arozarena led off with a single, advanced and stole third base before scoring on Austin Meadows’ sacrifice fly to center.
Sandwiched in between was a one-hopper by Yandy Diaz at Manaea. The hard hit by Diaz struck the right leg of Manaea, who regrouped to record the out and stayed in after a visit from the trainer.
Hill got into two-out, bases-empty trouble in the fourth by walking Matt Chapman. Murphy then put the A’s up 2-1 by skying a fly to left center that just got out for his second homer and fifth allowed by Hill.
In a wild play to end the seventh, Elvis Andrus was called out at home on a popup single by Kemp in shallow left, and the A’s challenged the call. However, the inning-ending play was upheld, and manager Bob Melvin was ejected after charging out of the dugout to argue the call.
Yusmeiro Petit tossed two perfect innings of relief, Jake Diekman pitched a scoreless eighth and Lou Trivino notched his third save in three chances.
–Field Level Media