St. Petersburg, FL – Jonny Gomes clubbed a two-out, two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning, and the Oakland Athletics posted a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in the middle portion of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Derek Norris hit a game-tying, RBI double in the seventh for Oakland, which rebounded from Thursday's 5-0 shutout to win for the seventh time in nine games.
The A's are tied with Baltimore for the American League's second wild-card spot, 1 1/2 games behind the Rays. Tampa Bay trails the East-leading New York Yankees by 3 1/2 games.
The Rays made it interesting in the ninth, trimming their deficit to one and placing the tying run in scoring position.
Grant Balfour issued a leadoff walk to Ryan Roberts and pinch-hitter Luke Scott went the other way to left field for an RBI double. Balfour, though, induced three consecutive ground outs to earn his 13th save of the season.
Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision. Oakland right-hander Jarrod Parker and Rays southpaw Matt Moore both gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out seven batters. Parker lasted six frames, while Moore went 6 1/3 innings.
"They're a good hitting team," Moore said of the A's. "They have some guys that can turn the ball around and some guys that can go with it."
Josh Donaldson and Norris hit back-to-back doubles to begin the seventh, tying the game at three. After Ryan Cook (6-2) retired the Rays in order in the home half of the inning, the Athletics grabbed the lead against Joel Peralta (1-6).
The Tampa Bay reliever retired the first two batters he faced before Chris Carter singled softly to right field. Gomes followed with a go-ahead blast into the seats in left.
"That's how close games are won, a bloop and a blast," Gomes said. "I don't get that at-bat without Carter's bloop."
Cook and Sean Doolittle combined to keep the Rays off the board in the eighth.
Down 1-0, the Athletics moved ahead in the fourth inning. Yoenis Cespedes hit a one-out triple and Carter walked before Donaldson tied the game with a two- out single through the hole on the left side.
Moore then hit Norris on the right foot to load the bases for Brandon Moss, who reached on an infield single, plating Carter with the go-ahead run. First baseman Carlos Pena and Moore were a little slow on the exchange, allowing a hustling Moss to beat Pena's soft toss to the Tampa Bay pitcher. The inning ended when Donaldson was caught stealing home.
The Rays quickly pulled even in the bottom of the fourth as Ben Zobrist, who sent Parker's first pitch of the second inning over the right-field wall for a home run, tripled and scored on Jeff Keppinger's sacrifice fly.
B.J. Upton then put Tampa Bay back on top in the next frame, driving home Jose Molina from second with a two-out grounder down the left-field line that was ruled fair.
The Rays looked to extend their lead in the sixth, but Molina went down swinging with the bases loaded to end the threat.
Tampa Bay fell to 16-6 in August ... Moore hadn't given up more than two runs in any of his previous seven outings ... The A's acquired pitcher Jesse Chavez from Toronto in exchange for cash considerations on Friday. The 29-year-old right-hander was 1-1 with an 8.44 ERA in nine games (two starts) for the Blue Jays this season. He compiled an 8-5 record and a 3.98 ERA in 19 games (17 starts) with Toronto's Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s.