OAKLAND -- Desmond Jennings homered and the Rays beat the A's, 2-1, in Friday's three-game series opener at the Coliseum behind lefty Drew Smyly, who tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season.
"Great win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I thought Drew Smyly really bounced back nicely, kind of like we thought he was going to."
Jennings not only notched his first homer of the season in the ninth off right-hander Evan Scribner but also drove in Tampa's first run with a single in the second against A's starter Chris Bassitt, who allowed five other hits across 6 2/3 innings in the tough-luck loss.
The A's, who got an RBI single from Coco Crisp in the ninth before stranding two runners to end the game, finished with 10 hits, leaving nine on base.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Killer combo: The A's loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but Smyly and Brandon Gomes ensured they didn't score. Smyly struck out Brett Lawrie on a high fastball and Gomes got pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt to pop to short to end the frame. For Smyly, who gave up seven hits, the start was encouraging after he yielded five earned runs in four innings in his last outing. More >
"That was kind of unchartered territory for him, because even through his rehab outings he hadn't gotten that many ups and downs to get that deep in a ball game," Cash said of Smyly, who won for the first time since Aug. 27, 2014.
Wild ways: Bassitt hit two batters, among them Logan Forsythe to lead off the second, and allowed him to advance to second base on a wild pitch to Asdrubal Cabrera, setting up Jennings' one-out RBI single that put the Rays on top. The right-hander kept his team in the game yet again, though, and suffered his fifth loss of the season despite pitching to a 2.48 ERA, including 2.31 in eight starts.
"Tonight was aggravating because nothing I was throwing was going where I wanted it to go," Bassitt said. "I was just extremely wild, and it was not what I wanted. I was just trying to throw everything down the middle."
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Jennings is 10-for-28 (.357) since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 14, and Cabrera, who singled and walked, is batting .407 in 21 games since returning from the DL on July 28.
The A's unsuccessfully challenged a ruling at first base in the top of the fifth inning. The safe call on Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who singled a sharp ground ball to Bassitt, stood as called.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Erasmo Ramirez (10-4, 3.57) takes the mound at 9:05 p.m. ET Saturday for the Rays, fresh off a win over the Astros in which he yielded two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander has lost his last five starts against Oakland and is 0-6 with a 5.26 ERA against them in his career.
A's: American League ERA leader Sonny Gray (12-5, 2.04) takes the mound Saturday for the middle matchup of a three-game set against the Rays, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m. PT. Gray is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in four career starts against Tampa Bay.
Trevor Hass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.