Khris Davis hit the third pitch of the 10th inning for his 42nd home run of the season as the Oakland Athletics dealt the Tampa Bay Rays’ playoffs hopes a serious jolt with a 2-1 win in the opener of a three-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Oakland’s seventh win in its last eight games pushed the A’s (90-58) a full nine games ahead of Tampa Bay (80-66) in the race for the second American League wild-card berth with just a little more than two weeks remaining in the regular season.
After the teams had battled to a 1-1 tie in nine innings, Davis greeted Jaime Schultz (2-1), the Rays’ ninth pitcher, with the difference-making homer.
It was Oakland’s first hit since the fourth inning and just its third of the game.
A’s closer Blake Treinen (7-2) pitched two perfect innings for the win.
The Rays finished with six hits, but recorded none after the sixth inning.
The A’s scored first, against Tampa Bay’s third pitcher, left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, in the fourth inning. Matt Chapman stroked a one-out double, Davis was intentionally walked with two outs, and Matt Olson singled off the glove of shortstop Willy Adames, with the ball rolling just far enough away to allow Chapman to score from second.
The Rays drew even in the bottom of the inning on a two-out, bloop double by Tommy Pham and an RBI single by Joey Wendle.
Oakland starter Edwin Jackson was pulled after five innings, having limited the Rays to one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out three.
The Rays threatened immediately upon Jackson’s exit when Mallex Smith reached on an infield single and Matt Duffy on a bunt single to open the sixth against A’s right-hander Shawn Kelley.
After a wild pitch advanced both baserunners into scoring position with no outs, Kelley struck out Ji-Man Choi, got Pham to foul out and, after intentionally walking Wendle, struck out Adames to retain the 1-1 tie.
Rays starter Diego Castillo worked a perfect first two innings, striking out four.
The win was just Oakland’s second in five games against the Rays this season.
Smith had two hits for Tampa Bay, which had won nine of its previous 11 games.
—Field Level Media