ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Somebody turned off the spigot. Suddenly the A's offense has gone dry. And Oakland's early lead in the American League West is no more.
The A's began the weekend with a 2 1/2-game lead in the West, then scored just four runs in three games against the Rays, who completed a sweep of the series with an 8-1 win Sunday. Texas moved past Oakland and into the division lead.
In 27 innings, the A's came up 27 times with men in scoring position and got three hits. Two of those hits were in the first inning Friday. In the subsequent 26 innings, the A's were 1 for 24 with runners in scoring position, the one hit being Josh Reddick's fourth-inning RBI single off the glove of Tampa second baseman Ryan Roberts on Sunday.
It was the end of an 0-for-9 streak for the struggling Reddick, whose average would have fallen under .100 without the hit. That much should have had Reddick thinking about better days ahead, but that wasn't the case in the quiet A's clubhouse.
It was also Reddick who dropped a routine fly ball in the first inning, enabling the Rays to score three times when it appeared starter Tommy Milone might pitch out of early trouble.
The dropped fly hurt, Reddick said, "especially when you are not helping the team (offensively)."
Reddick said he didn't take much comfort in the hit.
"I'm not where I want to be right now," he said.
Said A's manager Bob Melvin: "We have a few guys who are frustrated you just got to battle your way through it."
First baseman Brandon Moss was moved into the cleanup spot for the second time this season. He went 0 for 4 while stranding eight runners.
"Obviously we didn't do our jobs today – at least I know I didn't – leaving guys in scoring position in every at-bat," Moss said. "At the same time, they made some really good pitches. You take your lumps, just like you take your wins. And it'd be stupid for us to get down on ourselves after three losses, especially when they pitched as well as they did. That's just baseball."
The sweep at the hands of the Rays makes for the first three-game losing streak of the season for Oakland.