Kotsay's single ends Oakland's misery

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Before Mark Kotsay came through with his
game-winning hit, the Oakland Athletics were wondering if they had
forgotten how to win this month.

At least they still remember how to celebrate.

Kotsay drove home Marco Scutaro with a two-out single in the
11th inning, and the A's snapped their second eight-game losing
streak of May with a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on
Monday night.

When Kotsay finished Oakland's third run-scoring rally in the
final four innings of an unlikely win, his teammates burst from the
dugout to greet him with a reckless enthusiasm usually reserved for
autumn. The A's are just 6-20 in May, but still hoping it's
possible to turn around their season.

"There hadn't been a lot to be happy about here," Kotsay said.
"A lot of things hadn't gone our way. To get a win tonight was
huge for this club, the morale and the spirit. After losing eight
and having a tough month, hopefully this is something we can build

Jason Kendall tied it 4-4 with a two-out RBI single in the ninth
for the A's, who rallied from a three-run deficit in the eighth to
avoid their longest losing streak since dropping nine straight from
July 21-29, 1998.

After Charles Thomas and Scutaro singled with one out in the
11th against Travis Harper (1-3), the Devil Rays caught Thomas in a
rundown between third and home plate after Kendall's grounder. But
Kotsay laced a clean single to right-center, sparking the first
celebration in a long time at the Coliseum.

Huston Street (2-1) got three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings for
the A's, who didn't allow a run after the fifth inning.

"Coming in here today, there was an enthusiasm you really
shouldn't have after the [winless] road trip we just had," Street
said. "Everybody wanted that hit. There was a pretty big
celebration, but you've got to enjoy it. You've got to have fun. I
don't think we overreacted at all."

After Scott Kazmir held Oakland to one run and three hits over
the first seven innings, the A's rallied twice against Tampa Bay's
bullpen. Bobby Kielty, who also hit a first-inning homer, and Eric
Chavez drove in runs in the eighth, and the A's tied it with three
straight singles in the ninth.

Kendall drove in Thomas with the tying run off Tampa Bay closer
Danys Baez, but Damon Hollins made a running catch on Kielty's
bases loaded drive to the wall in left-center to force extra

Baez blew his fourth save in 11 opportunities this season, tying
him for the major league lead with more blown saves than he had in
33 chances last year. The Devil Rays also blew an 8-5 lead in the
eighth inning of Sunday's 10-9 home loss to Kansas City.

"Our starting pitching has gotten better, and all of a sudden,
our bullpen can't do its job," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella
said. "What can I do? I've tried them all. ... We've blown two
three-run leads in the eighth inning, and we can't do that again."

Hollins hit a two-run homer and Julio Lugo had a run-scoring
single among his three hits for the Devil Rays, who opened a
12-game road trip with a disheartening loss. Tampa Bay dropped to
3-19 on the road, worst in the AL.

Tampa Bay went ahead 4-1 in the fifth on Aubrey Huff's RBI
double, and Kazmir allowed just one runner to reach third base
while matching the longest start of his career.

A's rookie Joe Blanton remained winless in his first 10 major
league starts, allowing seven hits and four runs while failing to
make it through the fifth inning for the fourth straight outing.

At least he got more than one out this time against the Devil
Rays, who scored eight of their 10 first-inning runs against him in
St. Petersburg last Wednesday in the middle game of a series sweep.

The A's activated shortstop Bobby Crosby from the disabled list
before the game, and he doubled in his first at-bat. Crosby, last
season's AL Rookie of the Year, had been out since opening day with
two broken ribs.

Game notes
The game was delayed in the second inning when Kazmir lost
one of his contact lenses on the mound. He ran to the dugout for a
replacement, then struck out Nick Swisher. "It shot out. It felt
like the contact went further than the ball did," Kazmir said. ...
A's reliever Keiichi Yabu struck out the first four batters he
faced. ... Oakland's starting pitchers have just one victory in the
club's last 25 games.