(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oakland Athletics carry the worst record in baseball into Tropicana Field on Thursday when they open a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Oakland's struggles continued on Thursday in the rubber match of its three- game set with the upstart Houston Astros, as it fell for the sixth time in seven tries, 6-1.
Athletics starter Jesse Hahn (1-4) was solid, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks in six innings with six strikeouts.
The A's have lost 12 of 14, including seven of their last eight on the road, and at 14-28, they are the worst team in baseball.
"There's a lot of frustration that builds up when we don't win and that's where we are as a team right now," manager Bob Melvin said. "We're going to have to play our way out of it."
Getting the call for Oakland on Thursday will be righty Jesse Chavez, who has alternated between the bullpen and starting rotation this season, but is 1-3 with a 3.19 ERA in five starts. Chavez did not get a decision on Saturday versus the Chicago White Sox, despite a solid outing that saw him surrender two runs in six innings of a 4-3 loss.
Chavez has faced the Rays three times out of the bullpen without recording a decision. However, he has pitched to a 3.18 ERA in 5 2/3 innings of those outings.
Tampa, meanwhile, failed to take over sole possession of first place in the American League East, as it fell, 2-1, to Atlanta. The Rays left nine runners on base in that one and ended a five-game road trip at 2-3.
"It's tough to win ballgames when you leave that many guys on and only get one run," said Tampa manager Kevin Cash.
Jake Odorizzi (3-4) was charged with two runs on four hits and two walks in six innings of work.
Still, the Rays are tied with the New York Yankees for first place atop the division. And on Thursday the Rays will hand the ball to righty Alex Colome, who is 2-1 with a 6.05 ERA. Colome did not get a decision on Saturday in Minnesota, as he yielded three runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings of a 6-4 loss.
Oakland won four of six games versus the Rays last season.