ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- Jake Bauers, who has been mired in a .103 slump since August 1, had three hits Saturday, including a three-run homer off Jeurys Familia that broke a 4-4 tie, leading the Tampa Bay Rays to a 7-5 win over the Oakland Athletics at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay jumped out to an early lead against Oakland, as Kevin Kiermaier reached on an infield single in front of Brandon Lowe, who took a 2-0 pitch from Dean Kiekhefer and backspun it into the seats in right field for his fifth home run of the season.
Oakland cut the deficit back to one run in the third thanks to three consecutive singles off Yonny Chirinos by pinch-hitter Nick Martini, Matt Chapman and Jed Lowrie, and tied the game in the sixth when Matt Olson took Chirinos deep for his 27th home run of the season.
But again Tampa Bay wasted little time to regain the lead, as Chris Bassitt walked Joey Wendle to start the inning, and Kevin Kiermaier followed with a triple into the right field corner for a 3-2 lead, and Bauers lifting a sacrifice fly to medium-shallow right to allow Kiermaier to slip past the tag of Jonathan Lucroy.
Oakland evened the game in the seventh, as Chirinos allowed a one-out single by Marcus Semien before the two managers started to engage in the chess match. Bob Melvin brought in Matt Joyce to pinch-hit for Lucroy, prompting Kevin Cash to bring in Adam Kolarek for the lefty-lefty matchup, and Joyce then going to Mark Canha. The move worked out for the Athletics, as Canha lifted a double that scored Canha, then scored two batters later on a passed ball.
Oakland had a chance to take the lead in the top of the eighth, when Vidal Nuno allowed one-out singles by Olson and Stephen Piscotty, then walking Ramon Laureano to load the bases. However, Nuno struck out Semien, and Andrew Kittredge got Canha to ground into a fielder's choice to leave the bases loaded.
Oakland brought in Familia to begin the home eighth and walked Wendle, who went to second on a passed ball by Josh Phegley. Brandon Lowe walked with one out, and Familia had Bauers down 0-2 before leaving a 96 MPH fastball over the middle of the plate, which the Rays firs baseman sent to the back row of the seats in right to give the Rays a 7-4 lead.
Sergio Romo allowed a solo homer to Chapman in the ninth, but struck out Lowrie and got Khris Davis pop out to earn his 20th save.
The win ensures Tampa Bay will finish with their first .500 or better season since 2013.
Tampa Bay Rays (81-66) vs. Oakland Athletics (90-59), 1:10 p.m. first pitch, with pregame coverage beginning at 12:30. Sunday's game will be heard on 1250 WHNZ and Throwback Tampa Bay (105.9 FM in Tampa, 94.5 FM in St. Petersburg, 99.1 FM in New Port Richey).
Rays starter - RHP Diego Castillo (3-2, 3.31 ERA)
Athletics starter - RHP Mike Fiers (12-6, 3.29 ERA)