ST. PETERSBURG, Fla, (AP) — Cole Irvin pitched into the seventh inning,and the Oakland Athletics beat Tampa Bay 6-3 Thursday to take three of four from the Rays.

Irvin (1-1) allowed three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings as the rebuilding A’s under new manager Mark Kotsay improved to 4-3. Two of the runs off Irvin were in his final inning.

“I was throwing strikes, getting outs the way I know how,” said Irvin, who struck out two and walked none. “It was fastballs in and out. Change ups were the equalizer. That’s what I like to call that pitch because it allows me to throw more fastballs. Ultimately it was a good fastball day.”

Brandon Lowe homered for the Rays.

Cristian Pache had a two-out RBI single with two on in the second and scored on the play to make it 3-0 after the Rays misplayed his hit to center. Left fielder Randy Arozarena was charged with an error after the ball deflected off him while he was sliding, and the ball eluded center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and ended up on the warning track.

“The excitement he brings,” Kotsay said. “The energy. If he wasn’t running hard out of the box, that play may not happen.”

Rays manager Kevin Cash called it “a fairly unique play.”

“We got two defenders are elite at covering ground, and they just got tangled up,” Cash said. “Randy, the ball hit off his foot or leg or something and kind of ricocheted. So it was kind of a messed play from the beginning.”

Oakland scored 31 runs during the series.

“Again the fight, the character, it’s continuing to grow, the right direction,” Kotsay said,

Tampa Bay opened the second with three straight hits but scored only once on Manuel Margot’s single. Margot was thrown out trying to advance to second by right fielder Billy McKinney on Mike Zunino’s fly ball.

Irvin retired 14 batters in a row starting with Zunino’s double play. Harold Ramirez stopped the streak with a leadoff double in the seventh before Lowe ended the left-hander’s day on his two-run homer that cut the deficit to 6-3.

Dany Jiménez, the third Oakland reliever, worked the ninth for his first big league save.

Sean Murphy’s third-inning run-scoring double off Josh Fleming (1-1) gave Oakland a 4-1 lead.

Fleming gave up five runs — three earned — and seven hits in 3 ⅓ innings.

CLIMATE CHANGE

After opening the season with seven games at domed Tropicana Field, the Rays will spent six days in Chicago playing both the White Sox and Cubs.

Posted on a clubhouse message along the with projected highs in the 40′s for five of the games was: “Attention. Please try on your cold gear!”

MOVING DAY

The Rays selected the contract of right-hander Phoenix Sanders from Triple-A Durham, and designated righty Dusten Knight for assignment.

Sanders, a teammate of Tampa Bay opening-day starter Shane McClanahan at the University of South Florida, gave up one run over three innings in his big league debut

Knight allowed one run over 2 1/3 innings in his lone appearance Wednesday night. He is known for doing back flips after saves in the minors..

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: RHP James Kaprielian (inflamed right AC joint) is scheduled to pitch for Low-A Stockton Friday night.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Daulton Jefferies (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will start against Blue Jays RHP Ross Stripling (0-0, 9.00 ERA) Friday night in Toronto.

Rays: Drew Rasmussen (0-0, 4.50 ERA) and the White Sox’s Dylan Cease (1-0, 1.80 ERA) are the starting pitchers in a match up of right-handers Friday night,

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