Oakland, CA – Jed Lowrie's go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning lifted the Oakland Athletics to a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a three-game set between postseason hopefuls.
After the Rays tied the game in the top of the eighth with a pair of runs, the A's answered in the home half.
Coco Crisp singled against Tampa Bay starter David Price (8-6) to begin the frame before Joel Peralta replaced Price on the mound. Josh Donaldson grounded out to advance Crisp to second before Lowrie tugged a double down the right- field line to bring home Crisp to make it 4-3.
Grant Balfour fired a scoreless ninth to notch his 34th save of the season for Oakland, which has won four of its last five games to get within two games of the Texas Rangers for AL West lead.
The A's also moved one-half game ahead of Tampa Bay for the AL's first Wild Card spot.
Kurt Suzuki smacked a three-run homer, his first long ball since returning to Oakland after being sent back to the A's from the Washington Nationals on Aug. 23.
"Suzuki's hit today was huge because it looked like we weren't going to string too many hits together against Price," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
Suzuki was batting .222 with three home runs and 25 RBI in 79 games with Washington this season. The 29-year-old had a .254 batting average with 57 home runs and 302 RBI in 703 games over six seasons with the Athletics before he was traded to the Nationals on Aug. 3, 2012.
Ben Zobrist had two hits and scored a run for the Rays, who have dropped five of their last six tilts.
"Overall we've been playing really well, we just have to get a little bit more efficient offensively," Rays manager Joe Maddon remarked.
Oakland had a 3-1 lead before Tampa Bay tied it in the top of the eighth.
David DeJesus singled and Zobrist walked against Jarrod Parker to begin the frame before Ryan Cook (6-3) came on. Evan Longoria's base hit loaded the bases for Matt Joyce, whose sacrifice fly plated DeJesus. Chris Young was unable to make a diving catch on James Loney's sinking liner in center, which allowed Zobrist to score. Desmond Jennings and Kelly Johnson both struck out to end the inning.
Earlier, Yunel Escobar's RBI single in the second got the Rays on the board, but Suzuki's three-run shot to left in the fifth gave Oakland the lead.
Lowrie's double was his 40th of the season ... Parker surrendered three runs on six hits and three walks over seven frames in the start for Oakland ... Price surrendered four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and a walk over seven-plus frames in the start for the Rays.