OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Manuel Margot broke a scoreless tie with a two-run single in the eighth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays blanked the Oakland Athletics 3-0 on Wednesday afternoon to complete a three-game sweep.
Margot came up with the bases loaded and two outs against A’s reliever Zach Jackson (0-1) and served an opposite-field single to right, scoring Brett Phillips and Randy Arozarena.
Domingo Acevedo balked in another run to make it 3-0.
“I was just trying to produce,” Margot said through a translator. "I know that the previous at-bat, I had a chance to produce and I was unsuccessful. But I knew ... I was a little bit more calm, a little bit more relaxed. I learned from my last at-bat and that helped me be a little more relaxed for that one at-bat.”
Phillips called Margot “the most underrated player in the league.”
“And I say that because, night in and night out, he puts together unbelievable at-bats, he plays unbelievable defense, runs the bases, great teammate. ... It’s really cool to watch him,” Phillips said. "Good teams have players like him.”
Rays reliever J.P. Feyereisen (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings to earn the win. Andrew Kittredge pitched a perfect ninth to earn his fourth save.
Both starting pitchers were dominant, giving up no runs, though neither earned a decision. Corey Kluber had seven strikeouts for Tampa Bay. Oakland’s Frankie Montas fanned six.
“(Montas) was outstanding,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The good thing for us was that Kluber kind of went right with him and kept it right there. Just a really strong pitching performance by both sides.”
The Athletics finished their homestand 0-6, getting outscored 38-20. It was their first winless homestand of at least six games since 1956, when the franchise was in Kansas City.
“There’s some anger in there because they know we had opportunities to win games this homestand and we didn’t get it done,” A's manager Mark Kotsay said. “My whole focus in that group is to continue to keep the mindset that we’re going to go out and win the day.”
Prior to Margot’s two-run single, Brandon Lowe came to the plate with runners on first and third and was hit by a pitch. The A’s challenged the ruling, but the call was upheld.
The A’s drew a crowd of 4,838 and a combined 10,096 during the three-game series. Oakland is last in the majors in average attendance following offseason trades of stars Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea.
Rays: C Francisco Mejía, on the COVID-19 injured list since April 22, is expected to return for the next series in Seattle.
Athletics: LHP Cole Irvin is being evaluated for shoulder tightness. If he is forced to miss his scheduled start Friday, LHP Zach Logue would pitch in his place. ... C Stephen Vogt (sprained right knee) played catch Tuesday and has resumed other baseball activities. ... OF Ramón Laureano is on track to rejoin the team Sunday when first eligible to return from his 80-game PED suspension.
Rays: RHP Robert Dugger, designated for assignment Monday, was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds.
Rays: LHP Shane McClanahan (1-2, 3.00 ERA) opens a four-game series in Seattle on Thursday night.
Athletics: Following an off day, Oakland begins a three-game series in Minnesota on Friday. Irvin (2-1, 2.93) is still listed as the probable starter, despite dealing with shoulder tightness.
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