Posted August 01, 2012 on AP on Fox
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James Shields pitched a three-hitter, B.J. Upton drove in two runs and the Tampa Bay Rays broke out of their prolonged offensive slump to beat the Oakland Athletics 8-0 on Tuesday night. Sam Fuld had three hits, Upton added two and six different players drove in runs for the Rays. Tampa Bay went into the game last in the majors in hitting and had scored only nine runs in its previous four games before knocking A's starter Tommy Milone around for two runs in the second and three in the fifth. That was all Shields (9-7) needed to secure his seventh career shutout. He gave up a one-out single to Chris Carter in the second, a leadoff single to Jemile Weeks in the fourth and a two-out single to George Kottaras in the eighth. The game lasted just 2 hours, 37 minutes, a sharp turnaround from 24 hours earlier when the two teams played 15 innings in a marathon that went 5 hours, 9 minutes and ended after midnight. Shields, a 16-game winner in 2011 who was the subject of trade rumors right up until Tuesday's deadline, was a big reason for that. He retired 14 straight at one point, faced just two batters over the minimum and needed only 98 pitches while winning for the first time in nearly a month. Tampa Bay fielded several inquiries for the right-hander before the trade deadline before deciding to hold onto him. It turned out to be a wise decision, at least for now. As good as Shields was, Rays manager Joe Maddon had to be even happier with the offense. Eight players had at least one hit and six scored at least one run. The eight runs are also the second most scored by Tampa Bay since the All-Star break. Oakland, which set a franchise record for winning percentage in July, couldn't keep up and fell to 13-4 since the break. The A's didn't get a runner past second and were shut out for the 12th time this season. Milone (9-8) was tagged for five runs in six innings against Tampa Bay. Milone, who allowed only six earned runs over 59 2-3 innings in his previous eight starts at home, struck out four and walked one. The Rays scored twice in the second against Milone. Upton had an RBI single to drive in one while Desmond Jennings scored on a groundout. Tampa Bay opened the sixth with three straight singles off Milone to go up 3-0. Carlos Pena added a sacrifice fly to drive in Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez singled in Jeff Keppinger to make it 5-0. The Rays added an unearned run in the seventh off Evan Scribner and scored twice in the ninth. NOTES: The Rays called up RHP Josh Lueke before the game to give their bullpen a break following Monday's marathon loss. Lueke was with the Rays coming out of spring training and has an 18.90 ERA in three games with the big league club. To make room for Lueke, Tampa Bay optioned infielder Brooks Conrad to Durham. ... DH Evan Longoria was given the day off in his rehab but is scheduled to play in the minors for the Rays again Wednesday. ... Oakland CF Coco Crisp took batting practice in the cage but remains sidelined with a tight left hamstring. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy threw 66 pitches in his most recent outing in the minors and may make one more rehab start before rejoining the A's. ... Cliff Pennington (elbow) took batting practice for the first time since going on the disabled list July 20. ... Monday's game was the longest at the Oakland Coliseum since July 3, 1983, when the A's and Texas played for 5 hours, 19 minutes. ... RHP Jarrod Parker (7-4) pitches the series finale for Oakland while RHP Alex Cobb (4-8) goes for Tampa Bay.
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