Published April 21, 2013
| Sports Network
St. Petersburg, FL – Roberto Hernandez tossed six strong innings and earned his first win since 2011, while Yunel Escobar went 3- for-4 with a solo homer and two RBI as the Tampa Bay Rays downed the Oakland Athletics, 8-1, to sweep a three-game set at Tropicana Field.
Ryan Roberts had two hits, one RBI and two runs scored, while Sean Rodriguez, James Loney and Kelly Johnson also drove in one apiece for the Rays, who swept a three-game series versus the A's at home for the first time since 2005.
"He's been struggling offensively but it hasn't been effecting the rest of his game," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Escobar. "That's what he brings to the table every game."
Hernandez (1-3) allowed just three hits and one run while striking out seven.
Josh Reddick singled in Oakland's lone run, and Coco Crisp and Seth Smith provided the other hits for the Athletics, who were coming off their own three-game sweep of Houston prior to the series versus the Rays. Starter Tommy Milone (3-1) gave up six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings in the setback.
"They did an outstanding job of keeping us off-balance all series," Oakland first baseman Brandon Moss said.
Tampa Bay jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. With one down and runners on second and third, Evan Longoria hit a bloop to right scoring Roberts, while advancing to second on Reddick's fielding error. Shelley Duncan followed with a walk to load the bases, then Milone hit Rodriguez to plate Ben Zobrist.
Johnson rounded out the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Longoria. Escobar made it 4-0 in the second with a leadoff shot to left for his first home run of the season.
"I've never felt like this before with any team," Escobar added. "I hope I can be a part of this team for the rest of my career."
Oakland got one run back in the fourth. Reddick poked a single to right-center scoring Smith, who was hit by a pitch to start the frame. That was the only offense the team got, though, as the Rays continued to pile on the offense.
With one out in the seventh, Desmond Jennings hit a single and his hustle on Roberts' double to left paid off for a run scored from first base. Reliever Pat Neshek entered the game later in the inning with two down and his wild pitch scored Roberts to make it 6-1.
The Rays plated two more runs in the eighth.
Longoria has now reached base safely in all 18 games this season ... Hernandez, formally known as Fausto Carmona, last won a start on Sept. 20, 2011, with the Cleveland Indians ... Hernandez is 5-7 in 13 starts versus Oakland in his career ... Oakland went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base.