Four-run 6th drives A's to win over Rays

Four-run 6th drives A's to win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Sam Fuld's two-run single allowed the A's to pull away in a 5-0 win over the Rays on Saturday at Tropicana Field.

Fuld's hit came in the sixth off Xavier Cedeno with two outs and the bases loaded. Two Rays errors on the play enabled a third run to score to put the A's up 4-0.

Nathan Karns started for the Rays and pitched 5 2/3 innings before handing the ball over to Cedeno with runners on the corners. Eric Sogard greeted him with a single through the middle to drive home the first run of the game.

Kendall Graveman picked up the win, holding the Rays to no runs on three hits and two walks while striking out six in six-plus innings.

"Credit their guy," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He was mixing in his sinker-cutter combination, and we just had a tough time with it. He threw some front-door cutters that were extremely effective to the righties. He just kept us off-balance enough, kind of criss-crossing through the strike zone."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sogard strikes: With two gone in the sixth, Rays manager Kevin Cash made the move to replace Karns with left-handed specialist Cedeno, who had inherited 15 runners coming into the game and only allowed two to score. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Sogard took a two-seam fastball and shot it up the middle to push Josh Reddick across for the opening run of the ballgame. More >

Sogard's RBI single

When it rains, it pours: When Fuld singled off Cedeno with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth, Max Muncy and Sogard scored on the play that saw center fielder Kevin Kiermaier bobble the ball to account for the first error on the play. Kiermaier recovered and threw a strike on the fly to Rene Rivera that the Rays' catcher dropped for the second error of the inning. Mark Canha scored on the play, minting the A's fourth run. More >

A positive return: Graveman made his return to the A's rotation after being optioned to Triple-A Nashville on April 26. In four starts before his demotion, the right-hander went 1-2 with an 8.27 ERA, allowing 15 runs in 16 1/3 innings, but on Saturday he tossed six-plus scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out six.

Graveman's impressive outing

"Early in the game, we really went with a lot of fastballs, just located them on both sides of the plate," Graveman said. "Later, when we got runners on, we mixed up and made some good offspeed pitches in counts that we needed to, and I think that really helped, to be able to locate the fastball early in the game, to kind of hold the offspeed pitches until later when I needed them." More >

QUOTABLE
"We were a pitch away from a 0-0 ballgame going into the bottom of the sixth, and it just didn't happen." -- Cash, on the A's four-run sixth

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Enny Romero became the first Rays pitcher to allow four walks in an inning since Erik Bedard on April 24, 2014, vs. Minnesota. More >

WHAT'S NEXT
Athletics: Sonny Gray (4-2, 1.92 ERA) will take the mound for the A's in the series finale at Tropicana Field on Sunday at 10:10 a.m. PT (1:10 p.m. ET). After starting the season 4-0 with a 1.65 ERA, the right-hander has dropped each of his past two contests, posting a 3.00 ERA. In his last start, he surrendered three runs on seven hits in five innings against the Astros.

Rays: Erasmo Ramirez (2-1, 6.44 ERA) will start for the Rays, hoping to build on his improved performance of late. The right-hander has experienced quite a turnaround. After allowing 15 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings to start the season, he has allowed just six earned runs in in 24 innings in his next nine appearances (three starts), which equates to a 2.25 ERA in his past nine appearances.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.