by Steve Carney
Roberto Hernandez threw strong innings to pick up his first win since 2011, and Yunel Escobar hit his first home run as a Ray, helping Tampa Bay complete a three-game sweep of the Oakland A's with a 8-1 win Sunday.
Tampa Bay got off to an early lead, as Ryan Roberts singled off starter Tommy Milone with one out, and moved to third on a double by Ben Zobrist. Evan Longoria's pop fly was misplayed by Josh Reddick, allowing Roberts to score and keep runners at second and third base.
Milone then walked Shelley Duncan to load the bases, then hit Sean Rodriguez to force in a second run. Kelly Johnson capped the inning with a long fly ball that scored Longoria for a 3-0 lead.
Yunel Escobar extended Tampa Bay's lead in the second, leading off with his first homer of the season.
Oakland got on the board in the fourth inning, as Hernandez hit Seth Smith with a pitch, then issued a walk to Jed Lowrie. Brandon Moss grounded into a fielder's choice, erasing Lowrie, but Josh Reddick's single brought in Smith to cut the deficit to 4-1.
Tampa Bay added two more runs in the seventh, as Desmond Jenningd singled with one out, then scored on a double by Roberts. Zobrist's flyout moved Roberts to third base, and a wild pitch by reliever Pat Neshek's wild pitch allowed him to score to make it 6-1.
The Rays added a seventh run in the eighth on an RBI double by James Loney, and Escobar drove him in with a single to set the score at 8-1.
Hernandez (1-3) got his first win since September 20, 2011 by throwing the first six frames. Jake McGee threw a scoreless frame of relief, and Brandon Gomes tossed two perfect innings to cap the sweep.
The New York Yankees come to Tropicana Field for the first time in 2013. Monday's matchup will feature Matt Moore (3-0, 1.00 ERA) taking on C.C. Sabathia (3-1, 2.57 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10, with coverage on 620 WDAE starting at 6:00 with Suncoast Hyundai Dealers Inside Pitch.