ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Kendall Graveman gave the struggling Oakland Athletics a much-needed lift.
Graveman gave up three hits over six innings in his return from the minors, Sam Fuld drove in two runs and the Athletics beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0 on Saturday.
Graveman (2-2), recalled from Triple-A Nashville to make the start, struck out six and walked two to help the A's win for just the third time in 17 games. The right-hander was on the opening-day roster and went 1-2 with an 8.27 ERA in four starts before being optioned to Nashville on April 26.
''Mentally last night, that was the biggest thing I just focused on, what can I do to help the team win?'' Graveman said. ''Even this morning getting up and eating breakfast and thinking about, `Hey, what is my job? What can I control?' I can control making a pitch and getting guys out.''
After wasting several good scoring chances, Oakland broke through for four runs in the sixth. Xavier Cedeno replaced Rays starter Nathan Karns (3-2) with two outs and gave up Eric Sogard's RBI single. After Mark Canha walked to load the bases, three runs scored on Fuld's single that also included two Tampa Bay errors.
''I just didn't make the pitches, and they took advantage,'' Cedeno said.
Fuld was credited with two RBIs on his hit that was misplayed by center fielder Kevin Kiermaier for the first error. Catcher Rene Rivera got the second error after dropping Kiermaier's throw that allowed the third run to score.
''We have a couple matchups that we don't normally do, but they came through for us,'' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said about the left-handed hitting Sogard and Fuld. ''A win is what they did. We desperately needed a win.''
Graveman struck out two to help work out of a two-on, no-out jam in the fifth. He also avoided damage in the sixth when the Rays put two runners on with one out.
Evan Scribner and Tyler Clippard completed a six-hitter.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Clippard ended the threat by striking out pinch-hitter Joey Butler on three pitches.
Karns allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Billy Burns got his first career RBI in the eighth after drawing the fourth consecutive walk issued by Enny Romero with two outs.
After the game, Romero was optioned to Triple-A Durham.
Oakland had at least one baserunner in each of the first four innings, including two on in both the second and fourth, but failed to score.
Athletics: Melvin said INF Brett Lawrie ''is a little banged up'' and might be out of the lineup a couple days. ... OF Coco Crisp (cervical strain) went on the 15-day DL ... Closer Sean Doolittle (shoulder) will pitch for Nashville Sunday and might be back later in the week. ... INF-OF Ben Zobrist (knee) could return Monday. ... 1B Ike Davis (quadriceps) hasn't resumed baseball activities.
Rays: LHP Matt Moore (elbow surgery) threw 36 pitches in two innings during his first extended spring training start.
The Athletics improved to 2-13 in day games. ... Fuld had four hits in his previous 54 at-bats before his sixth-inning single.
Rays 3B Evan Longoria was the designated hitter for the third time this season, getting a break from playing on the artificial turf at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said getting Longoria to DH is ''like pulling teeth.
''We play cribbage for it,'' Cash said with a smile. ''Obviously he hasn't DH-ed much this year so I'm getting beat up on cribbage.''
Oakland RHP Sonny Gray (4-2) faces Rays RHP Erasmo Ramirez (2-1) Sunday. Gray has lost two straight starts.