Rays slip behind Yankees in AL East

OAKLAND, California (Reuters) - The Tampa Bay Rays dropped out of top spot in the American League East Thursday after losing 4-3 to the Oakland Athletics.

The Rays (74-47) fell a game behind the New York Yankees for the division lead after their offense failed to solve Oakland starter Trevor Cahill, who survived some early mistakes to pitch eight innings and claim the win.

"We've proven that we can play well against some of the top teams all year," Pennington told reporters. "We're going out there trying to win every series, no matter the opponent."

Pennington's key hit came against reliever Dan Wheeler, who had entered the game with two men on base and one out. Oakland's Rajai Davis grounded out for an RBI to pull the home team to 3-2.

Wheeler took the loss after replacing starter Andy Sonnanstine, who was charged with three runs over 5 1/3 innings.

Athletics starter Cahill had allowed just one earned run in 33 innings before Pena blasted his 24th home run of the season in the fourth. Cahill struck out five on the way to improving his record to 13-5 on the year.

Longoria homered in the sixth, and the Rays had a chance to put more runs on the board but Oakland outfielder Coco Crisp made a leaping catch to deny Matt Joyce a two-run home run.

"It's just one of the greatest catches I've seen in person," Joyce said. "It totally changed the whole game."

Longoria finished 2-for-4 and has 12 hits in his last six games.

The New York Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers 11-5 on Thursday to open up a slender advantage over the Rays at the top of the AL East.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)