By JANIE McCAULEY
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Daulton Jefferies gave up a home run to Yandy Diaz to lead off the game and the Rays scored five more runs over the first five innings to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-1 on Monday night in front of a season-low Coliseum crowd.
Jefferies (1-2) allowed consecutive RBI singles in the third to Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena, and Mike Zunino’s base hit the next inning brought in another Rays run.
Manuel Margot added an RBI double in the fifth among his three hits as the Rays tagged Jefferies for career highs of 11 hits and six runs.
The A’s lost their season-high fourth straight after a weekend sweep by Cleveland at home, and have lost seven of nine after winning eight of 12.
Oakland’s only run came in the second inning, when Seth Brown walked, stole second and was brought in on a single to right by Chad Pinder.
The A’s managed just that one run and one hit off Drew Rasmussen (2-1), who struck out three and walked one in five solid innings. Four Rays relievers gave up a single hit — a Jed Lowrie bunt single to lead off the seventh — in finishing up the 2-hour, 37-minute game.
Tampa Bay’s pitchers held Oakland in check after having given up 17 runs over their previous 13 innings.
The clubs played their fifth of seven games over a 24-day span. They have two games left in their three-game series.
The A’s season-low crowd of 2,488 was their smallest excluding COVID years since they drew 2,443 in a 6-3 win against the Rangers on Sept. 9, 1980. Rickey Henderson stole a base and Mitchell Page homered twice in that game.
Rays: C Francisco Mejía, sidelined on the COVID-19 injured list, played as designated hitter Monday in a rehab game at the club’s spring training facility in Port Charlotte, Florida, and is scheduled to catch five or six innings Tuesday before the team determines if he’s ready to return. … SS Franco returned to the lineup a day after he was scratched with right hamstring tightness. … Tampa Bay optioned OF Josh Lowe to Triple-A Durham and designated RHP Robert Dugger for assignment a day after he made his major league debut with 5 1/3 relief innings during Sunday’s 9-3 home loss to the Twins.
Athletics: RHP reliever Lou Trivino, on the COVID-19 IL since April 18, made a rehab start with Class-A Stockton on Sunday and could be back with the A’s as soon as Tuesday. … Veteran C Stephen Vogt’s sprained right knee is making good progress.
RHP Paul Blackburn (3-0, 1.35 ERA) is set to start the middle game of the series for Oakland, having gone 3-0 over his last four starts. … Rays LHP Ryan Yarbrough is expected to come off the injured list from dealing with left groin tightness and either start or follow an opener to pitch the bulk of the innings.