Sonnanstine shaky after promising start

Sonnanstine shaky after promising start

OAKLAND -- Andy Sonnanstine won't be nostalgic when he remembers Wednesday's game, even if he did manage to strike out a season-high six batters.

The right-hander retired the first eight batters he faced, striking out three. Then things suddenly imploded, and the Rays' attempt at their first sweep of the A's in Oakland fell by the wayside in a 9-1 defeat at McAfee Coliseum.

Sonnanstine had his five-game winning streak snapped, as he allowed seven runs on nine hits over six innings, the second time he's given up as many runs this season.

"I'm going to go into the shower, let it all go down the drain and do my best the next time out," Sonnanstine said. "It wasn't any one thing. I threw good pitches and they hit them, and I threw bad pitches and they hit them. Overall, I'd say it was a really good first couple of innings and then it gradually went downhill with my location and sharpness."

The long ball was again Sonnanstine's nemesis, just as it was in the loss to the New York Yankees on April 14, when he allowed three bombs. Jack Hannahan and Jack Cust each got to Sonnanstine in a three-run fifth inning that gave the A's a 6-0 advantage. He also allowed four doubles.

"I thought [Sonnanstine] had good stuff," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He had a good fastball and threw some good breaking balls. The big play was walking Hannahan to get to [Bobby] Crosby and then giving up the two-run double. They just had a good day. They got big hits and put us behind the eight ball. We couldn't do anything against them. They pretty much spiked us."

It didn't help that the Rays had problems offensively against A's left-hander Dana Eveland. They managed three hits against Eveland and only Jonny Gomes' leadoff homer in the eighth kept the southpaw from his first career shutout.

"It's always tough to have someone who can throw three pitches for strikes that you've never seen before," Gomes said. "You have reports on paper, but you don't have personal experience. Like any good pitcher, he got ahead and threw strikes."

Gomes, who grew up less than an hour from Oakland, hit his first career home run in front of his hometown crowd.

"Those guys haven't seen me hit a home run since high school," Gomes said. "I've gotten some doubles here, but never a home run. It was nice to hit one. I had a bunch of people in the barbeque in left field."

Akinori Iwamura, who has hit safely in six straight, led off the game with a single and Gabe Gross singled in the fifth for the Rays' only other hits.

The Rays finished the road trip with a 3-3 record heading into their longest homestand of the season.

"You'd like to go home 4-2, but I'll take 3-3 going home," Maddon said. "It's back to the trough with a day off. We've been playing well at home and this is another opportunity to do so."

Despite the lopsided end to the trip, Gomes called it a success.

"We look at the road and try to play .500 ball," Gomes said. "We did that. Now we can go home, lick our wounds, take a day off and be ready for the AL East. These are the teams we need to beat."

The Rays have won 12 of their past 13 home games.

Rick Eymer is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.