Diego Castillo's continued command issues came back to bite him and the Tampa Bay Rays again, as the two runs he allowed in the seventh inning proved to be the difference as the Oakland Athletics defeated the Rays 4-2 Saturday at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Castillo's outing started with a four-pitch walk to catcher Beau Taylor, the ninth batter in the order. Marcus Semien singled pinch-runner Josh Phegley to third base, and Matt Chapman, whose three-run homer Thursday gave Oakland the win int he opener of the series, singled in Phegley to break a 2-2 tie.
Matt Olson walked to load the bases, and after Khris Davis grounded into a fielder's choice that erased Semien at the plate, Castillo hit Ramon Laureano in the back with a 3-2 pitch to force in the final run of the game.
Oakland initially took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second, as Rays starter Yonny Chirinos gave up three straight singles to begin the inning, as Davis, Laureano, and finally Robbie Grossman all reached via the base hit, opening the scoring.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases in the top of the third, with Zunino doubling off Mike Fiers, who then walked Brandon Lowe, and after a walk pitch, put Tommy Pham aboard with a free pass. Ji-Man Choi then just missed hitting a grand slam to right, as his fly ball was caught at the base of the wall, allowing Zunino to tie the game. However, Lowe would not challenge Laureano's arm on an Austin Meadows fly ball to center, and Tampa Bay had to be satisfied with tying the ballgame.
The tie would not last long, as Chapman led off the bottom of the third with an opposite field home run off Chirinos for a 2-1 lead.
Chirinos would not allow Oakland to extend their lead beyone a single run, and exited at the end of the sixth inning. He'd get off the hook for the decision in the top of the seventh, as Choi went opposite field against reliever Ryan Buchter for a solo homer, his ninth of the year, to again knot the game up.
Austin Meadows followed with a line drive that Stephen Piscotty dove for and missed, turning it into a triple, but Yusmiero Petit struck out Avisail Garcia to again leave the go-ahead run at third base. Petit then struck out the side in the eighth, and Liam Hendriks worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his first save of 2019.
Tampa Bay has now dropped five of the first six games on their current ten-game road trip.
Tampa Bay Rays (44-33) at Oakland Athletics (41-37), 4:07 pm first pitch with coverage on WDAE beginning at 2:00 with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: RHP Ryne Stanek (0-1, 2.53 ERA)
Athletics starter: LHP Brett Anderson (7-4, 3.68 ERA)