Tampa Bay Rays

Rolling Rays nip A's 3-2

Scott Kazmir scraped out another impressive win thanks to one clutch hit.

Left fielder Emil Brown tried to make a sliding catch on Dioner Navarro's sinking liner in the eighth inning and lost the ball in the lights and it got past him for a three-run double, sending the Tampa Bay Rays to a 3-2 victory against the Athletics on Tuesday night.

Kazmir struck out a season-high eight batters in his fourth outing, holding his own in a pitcher's duel between a pair of talented young left-handers.

Oakland lost for the ninth time in 11 games and in tough fashion for the second straight night after a 7-6 defeat in 13 innings Monday.

Kazmir (3-1), coming off back-to-back scoreless outings, won his third straight start after dropping his season debut at Boston on May 4. He allowed one run on four hits in seven strong innings, walking only one.

Dan Wheeler pitched the eighth and Troy Percival finished for his 13th save in 15 opportunities, leaving him with 337 career saves and five from tying Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers for ninth place on the all-time list at 342.

But he did give up Frank Thomas' solo homer on a 3-2 pitch to start the ninth, the third home run in two games and sixth this year for the Big Hurt.

A's No. 9 hitter Rajai Davis singled in Oakland's lone run in the fifth, and the A's got a strong start from Greg Smith but couldn't do enough offensively against Kazmir. Smith lost his third consecutive start and dropped his fourth decision in five starts since beating the Minnesota Twins on April 24 in the Coliseum.

He was through after giving up a leadoff walk to Jason Bartlett in the eighth followed by Carl Crawford's single. Joey Devine relieved and Bartlett immediately stole third and Crawford advanced on the play on catcher Kurt Suzuki's error. After intentionally walking Carlos Pena to load the bases, Devine struck out Evan Longoria before Brown had trouble in left.

Suzuki's leadoff double in the third was the first baserunner against Kazmir, who then struck out the side. The 24-year-old Kazmir, who began the year on the disabled list with an elbow injury, was last year's AL strikeout leader with 239 and has 22 so far in 2008. He also was the 18th lefty starter faced by the A's so far this season, most in the American League.

A's second baseman Mark Ellis missed his eighth straight game with a strained left hamstring but hopes to be back in the starting lineup for Friday's series opener against the defending champion Boston Red Sox, following the team's day off Thursday. Ellis did some running before Tuesday's game and said he felt better.

Noteworthy

Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton stole his 11th base. ... Ben Zobrist got the start at 2B for the Rays and Akinori Iwamura got a day off. ... A's RHP reliever Andrew Brown underwent an appendectomy and was placed on the 15-day disabled list to recover from the surgery. The move was retroactive to May 14, one day after Brown last pitched. Oakland recalled LHP Lenny DiNardo from Triple-A Sacramento to fill Brown's spot, the second stint in the big leagues this season for DiNardo. ... Oakland RHP Santiago Casilla, on the DL with inflammation in his throwing elbow, will begin playing light catch in a few days. "That's really good news," said manager Bob Geren, who initially thought the injury could be worse.

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