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Tampa one-hits Oakland, but A's win game any way, of course

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Well, when things are going you're way, they really go your way -- that's the beauty and horror of baseball, of course, as most fans of the major-league game know.

And tonight in Tampa Bay, the Oakland Athletics got a reminder of this as they mustered just one hit against the Rays at Tropicana Field -- and emerged victorious nonetheless, 3-2 winners in a pretty strange game.

The A's scored two unearned runs without a hit in the second inning before Brandon Moss hit a home run in the fourth inning, and that was all starter Tommy Milone and four relievers needed to secure the 30th Oakland victory of the 2014 season.

Milone was stellar for five innings, but he gave up two runs in the sixth before Fernando Rodriguez took the ball in support of the A's lefty. Milone earned his second win of the season, and he's now surrendered just three earned runs in his last three starts, spanning 19.2 innings.

Luke Gregerson and Fernando Abad worked a shaky eighth inning before newly-anointed (but for how long?) closer Sean Doolittle closed out the ninth with an 11-pitch duel against Tampa's Wil Myers that resulted in a strikeout and the save.

With the win tonight and the A's 3-0 victory yesterday, Oakland has now won 11 of its last 12 games to move to 30-16 on the year, with a +99 run differential. That's somewhat historic, in the sense of the early-season run differential (but more on that later).

(Last night, Drew Pomeranz tossed another five shutout innings to win his third straight start for Oakland, by the way. So the back end of the rotation is clicking like the front end.)

For now, the A's have the best record in the American League and a 4.5-game lead in the AL West division, ahead of the Los Angeles Angels. And clearly, they have some mojo, because you don't often win games where the offense musters just one hit.

Of course, Oakland did draw seven walks, which led to eight at-bats with runners in scoring position. Amusingly, the A's went hitless in those at-bats, but Moss' home run was the huge moment of the game, in retrospect -- as was an inning-ending, double-play ball that Abad threw to escape the eighth-inning, based-loaded jam.

It was that kind of game for Oakland, one they shouldn't count on repeating, because luck eventually runs out in situations like this. But for now, the A's will take it.

As for that run differential, only the 1998 New York Yankees and the 2010 Rays had better run differentials in the first 44 games of a season. We know how that Yankees season ended, and the Rays won 96 games and the AL East in 2010.

Those are signs that bode well for the 2014 Oakland Athletics.

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