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Odorizzi, Rays shut down Athletics
OAKLAND, Calif. -- When Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi took the mound Monday night, it had been 10 days since he ended a rough first half of the season with a thud.
Odorizzi gave up seven runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Boston Red Sox. After that defeat, he said he hoped to recharge during the All-Star break and bounce back strong in the second half, just as he did last season.
So far so good.
Odorizzi allowed one run on one hit over seven innings, and the Rays defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-2 at the Oakland Coliseum in the opener of a three-game series.
Odorizzi (6-4) struck out five and walked two. He also gave up a home run in his 14th consecutive appearance, an ongoing franchise record.
"It's just nice to get back to what I feel I'm capable of doing," he said. "It was a frustrating first half, that's for sure, and that kind of helps ease those troubles when you come out and just do what I'm used to doing. Granted, the one hit, I'm not going to do that every time, let's be honest, but it was just good to execute pitches.
"I was on top of balls, off-speed was better, fastball location was much better, and I wasn't constantly throwing balls in the top of the zone. Just a little adjustment I made really helped out. It was just nice to get back to being me again."
The biggest adjustment Odorizzi made was pitching out of the stretch for the entire game after walking leadoff hitter Matt Joyce in the first inning.
"I felt more comfortable," Odorizzi said. "I don't know why, but I'm going to continue doing it. Once I walked Joyce, I was in the stretch for the rest of the game because I felt better. I felt everything was just a little more crisp and I was able to get the ball down in the zone better."
Steven Souza Jr. hit his 19th home run of the season, and Evan Longoria hit his 14th, both solo shots for the Rays, who moved to within two games of the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. Longoria went 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
"I feel like I'm not up there fighting my swing," Longoria said. "Until the last month, it's been a battle just to feel good going into the box."
Khris Davis hit his 26th home run of the season, a solo shot off Odorizzi in fourth inning.
"We know he throws a lot of splits and he throws a lot of off-count splits," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Odorizzi. "Threw some sliders and cutters today, and we just couldn't get a bead on him. We were having a tough time getting a good swing, let alone hitting the ball hard. Got to give him some credit tonight, he kept us off balance."
Tommy Hunter pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Rays. In the ninth, Rays closer Alex Colome gave a leadoff double to Yonder Alonso, who scored from third with two outs on a wild pitch, making it 3-2. However, Colome retired Ryon Healy on a ground ball to record his 27th save.
A's rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett allowed three runs on seven hits over a career-high seven innings in his seventh career start. He gave up two homers and has allowed 10 this season. Gossett struck out three and walked one.
"He had some other baserunners that he had to pitch around tonight, but I thought getting that deep in the game, keeping his pitch count down, I thought (it was) one of his better outings we saw," Melvin said.
Souza gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead with a leadoff home run in the second. He lined Gossett's 1-1 pitch to left, over the out-of-town scoreboard.
The Rays extended their lead to 2-0 with a run in the third. Mallex Smith walked with one out, went to second on a wild pitch and eventually scored from third when Longoria grounded into a forceout.
The A's cut Tampa Bay's lead in half in the fourth when Davis launched Odorizzi's 2-2 pitch over the right-center-field fence.
"It was a little bit up," Odorizzi said of the pitch. "He's got a lot of power. I used to play with him in the minor leagues. I've seen him do that many, many times. He just had a nice bit of hitting."
Longoria answered with a two-out blast down the left field line in the fifth inning off Gossett, making it 3-1.
NOTES: Rays 2B Tim Beckham was ejected by plate umpire Lance Barrett after the top of the fourth inning. Beckham had struck out looking in the fourth and appeared to dispute the call. He continued arguing as he was taking his position in the field and was ejected for the first of his career. INF Trevor Plouffe, who was traded by Oakland to Tampa Bay on June 17 after being designated for assignment, replaced Beckham. ... Tampa Bay C Wilson Ramos (sore left hamstring) missed his third consecutive game but is making progress in his recovery. He might return to the starting lineup Tuesday, Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ... Oakland INF/OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) ran the bases for the second time in three days and will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Nashville. ... Oakland RHP Blake Treinen, who was acquired Sunday from the Washington Nationals, made his A's debut, pitching a scoreless eighth inning.