Jason Hammel was pitching for his place in the A’s rotation Tuesday night, and despite working himself into a jam seemingly every inning, he got the seems to have managed to keep his spot for now with his first win as an Oakland A, 3-0 over the Rays.
After losing his first four starts for the A’s since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 4th, Hammel turned in his best effort in green and gold to date. He pitched 5 2/3 of scoreless baseball, allowing seven hits and four walks along the way.
Aside from his 1-2-3 first inning, there was not a single other inning that Hammel did not manage to get himself into trouble, but he got key double plays and a few nice plays from his teammates to escape unscathed each time.
He exited the game with a 1-0 lead, giving way to Eric O’Flaherty, who came in and got the final out of the sixth inning.
The A’s gave Hammel the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning on a RBI single by Coco Crisp to bring home Alberto Callaspo.
They added on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, getting an RBI double by Nate Freiman to bring home Derek Norris and a RBI single by Josh Reddick to bring home Freiman.
Ryan Cook pitched a perfect seventh inning for the A’s, striking out one and Luke Gregerson came in to pitch a perfect eighth inning.
Sean Doolittle came in and worked the ninth inning for his 17th save of the season.
Crisp, back in the starting lineup after dealing with a degenerative neck injury, went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI in his return. The A’s are now 49-33 in games that Coco has played in this season.
Reddick went 2-for-3 with a RBI and boosted his season average to .263.
The win is the second in a row for the A’s, who won with the help of a “Rally Possum” and some kind of creepy beard rubbing by Josh Reddick Monday night in extra innings.
Entering the game the A’s had maintained a one-game lead over the Angels in the AL West standings. Thanks to an Angels’ loss at the hands of the Dodgers down in LA, the A’s bumped their lead back up to two games in the division.
The A’s and Rays will continue their series tomorrow afternoon at 12:35 PM at the Oakland Coliseum with Sonny Gray pitching against Jeremy Hellickson.