ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Scott Kazmir had not given up a home run with men on base in seven straight winless starts. And, then, he faced his former teammate.
Evan Longoria hit a three-run homer off Kazmir in the fifth inning of the Tampa Bay Rays’ 5-2 victory, sending the Oakland Athletics to a fourth straight loss.
“We want to just pull our hair out with everything that’s going on,” said Kazmir, who gave up two earned runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. “You can look back after a game and point out one or two things that make the difference and for this game, it was that pitch.”
The Rays, down 1-0, had runners on first and third after an error on first baseman Max Muncy.
“The plan was just to drive the ball in the outfield and score one run, and we ended up getting three out of it,” said Longoria, who was a rookie when Kazmir started Games 1 and 5 of the 2008 World Series for Tampa Bay. “In a 1-0 game, it does change the complexion of the game.”
Steven Souza Jr. and Tim Beckham added solo home runs for the Rays, who won for the fourth time in five games.
Rays starter Chris Archer (5-4) and five relievers gave up nine hits, and Tampa Bay held an opponent to two runs or less for the 22nd time in 43 games.
Archer gave up six hits, struck out eight and walked four in 5 1/3 innings. Brad Boxberger got the final out for his 13th save.
Kazmir (2-3) gave up two earned runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings for the A’s, who lost their fourth straight and 14th of 16. Oakland left 12 men on base.
“That’s where we’re struggling right now,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Probably in the last 10 days or so, we’re getting guys on, we’re just not getting big hits. And we make an error and it blows up on us.”
After giving up a three-run homer for only the second time in two years, Kazmir said the errors — and losses — can’t get into the A’s heads.
“We don’t have that, ‘Here we go again’ personality. That’s when stuff just snowballs,” he said. “I feel like we’re out there positive, thinking about the next at-bat. I think that’s all you can do when you’re struggling like we are.”
Stephen Vogt led off the fourth with his 10th home run, giving the A’s their 1-0 lead.
Billy Butler drove in Oakland’s final run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Athletics: OF Coco Crisp will not have neck surgery, but the A’s put him on the 15-day disabled list Friday night. . . . RHP Edward Mujica went on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right thumb.
Rays: INF Ryan Brett (left shoulder subluxation) and LHP C.J. Riefenhauser (left shoulder inflammation) will begin rehab assignments at Class A Charlotte on Sunday.
Former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington started his new job with the A’s as an instructor, primarily of shortstop Marcus Semien and third baseman Brett Lawrie, who have a combined 23 errors. “Ron’s had projects before that he’s been very successful with,” Melvin said.
RHP Kendall Graveman (1-2, 8.27 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Nashville to pitch for the A’s on Saturday against Rays RHP Nathan Karns (3-1, 3.77 ERA), who will be pitching on 10 days’ rest.