ST. PETERSBURG — When the reeling Rays returned home Tuesday, they had the red-hot A's there to welcome them.
And Tampa Bay fell to an all-too-familiar fate, a 3-0 loss to Oakland in front of 11,369 at Tropicana Field.
The A's earned their 10th win in 11 games and pushed the Rays (19-27) to eight games under .500 for the first time since their final days as the Devil Rays in 2007. Tampa Bay continued its puzzling struggles at home, losing eight of its past nine at the Trop.
Manager Joe Maddon had to be asked: How much lower can they go?
"For me, never say it can't get any worse, 'cause whenever you utter those words you're going to find it out," Maddon said. "So you never hear that out of my mouth. I'm always looking for it to turn. … It's really no fun, but we'll get it back together."
The Rays' scuffling offense remained the main culprit, getting shut out for the second time in three games and fifth this season. They've scored in one of their past 28 innings, managing four hits Tuesday.
"The offense is going to come back to us, these guys can hit," Maddon said. "It's been a very difficult moment. I believe in these guys. It's going to happen."
Rays rookie right-hander Jake Odorizzi wasn't bad but lasted just 42/3 innings thanks to a 40-pitch fourth inning that included 17 foul balls.
"It felt like an eternity," Odorizzi said. "I've never had that happen before."
Odorizzi gave up a career-high five walks but had eight strikeouts. "I thought Jake had great stuff," Maddon said. "It's a tribute to their ability to look over a pitch."
Oakland did most of its damage with a two-out rally in the second, capped by a two-run double by Coco Crisp.
The Rays had a couple of threats but grounded into three inning-ending double plays, including two by Desmond Jennings, one with the bases loaded in the third. Maddon challenged that out call on Jennings, but after a 1 minute, 22 second delay, the call was confirmed and the rally thwarted.
"Double plays have not been our friend," Maddon said.
Odorizzi was pulled two outs into the fifth, after a career-high 113 pitches, and relieved by Cesar Ramos, who got into a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the sixth with the top of the order coming up. He got the next two outs and Juan Carlos-Oviedo struck out Josh Donaldson to keep the Rays down just 3-0.
The bullpen did its job, combining for 41/3 scoreless innings. But the Rays lineup couldn't come back. Evan Longoria had another quiet night, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Wil Myers drew two walks but had two strikeouts. DH Logan Forsythe popped out with a runner on second in the fourth and is hitting .175.
While the Rays admit it has been a tough stretch, they're not panicking, or feeling down on themselves.
"From what I see, everybody's fine," first baseman James Loney said. "I don't think you're going to see anybody crying in the corner or anything like that."
Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]