Pomeranz wins 3rd straight start; A’s top Rays 3-0

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Drew Pomeranz may have found his niche as a starting pitcher.

Pomeranz won his third consecutive start since moving from the bullpen into the rotation, Coco Crisp drove in two runs before departing with an injury, and the surging Oakland Athletics beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-0 on Tuesday night.

Pomeranz (4-1) allowed three hits, two walks and had three strikeouts over five innings. He has not given up a run in his three starts, all of which lasted five innings.

“My three starts have been a great team effort,” Pomeranz said. “We scored a lot of runs and the bullpen shut them down.”

Sean Doolittle, the third Oakland reliever, pitched the ninth for his third save and complete a four-hitter.

After the game, Oakland manager Bob Melvin said there is a good chance Doolittle will take over the closer’s role.

“It’s pretty cool,” Doolittle said.

Doolittle did see his streak of 30 straight appearances without allowing a walk end when Ryan Hanigan drew one with two outs in the ninth.

Former Baltimore closer Jim Johnson, acquired by Oakland from the Orioles in December, has allowed seven runs in 4 1-3 innings over his past six appearances.

Crisp hit a two-run double and John Jaso had an RBI single off Jake Odorizzi (2-4) as Oakland took a 3-0 lead in the second.

The AL West-leading Athletics have won 10 of 11, outscoring their opponents 74-18 over the stretch.

“You don’t do that by swinging at bad pitches,” Odorizzi said.

Crisp was replaced defensively by Craig Gentry in the bottom of the sixth because of neck soreness. He had started four straight games after missing seven with a neck strain.

Melvin expects Crisp to sit out Wednesday night’s game.

Odorizzi gave up three runs, four hits, five walks and struck out eight in 4 2-3 innings. The Rays (19-27) are eight games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 2007 season (66-96), which was their final season as the Devil Rays.

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