Oakland A's manager Bob Melvin saw something similar before, but it had been a while. In Menlo Park (Calif.) Little League many years ago, he said, he threw a one-hitter and beat a kid who threw a no-hitter against him.
The circumstances were not so dramatic Wednesday at Tropicana Field, but they were much more important as the Athletics proved an economical bunch in using one hit, seven walks and two errors to edge the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2.
Oakland improved its major-league-best record to 30-16 in winning its fifth straight and its 11th in the last 12 games.
Tampa Bay (19-28), meanwhile, fell a season-worst nine games below .500 and dropped its fourth straight and 11th in 15 games.
Tampa Bay outhit the Athletics 9-1, the last coming on a disputed Logan Forsythe popup that deflected off structures suspended from the roof and eluded third baseman Josh Donaldson near the mound. Video review upheld the base hit call after Melvin protested that the ball should have been called a foul.
Melvin said he wasn't concerned that the play might signal another odd twist in a surreal game turning against him.
"You have to resist the temptation to think those types of things," he said.
Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle recovered to retire the next two batters and register his second save of the series and fourth of the season.
Since modern record-keeping became available in 1914, the win was the Athletics' first after recording just one hit.
"It's really one of the more unusual games to lose," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We pitched extremely well."
A's left-hander Tommy Milone allowed two runs and five hits to improve to 2-3 after beginning the season 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in three road starts.
He was a master of damage control, pitching out of a second-inning, first-and-third, one-out jam. He could not escape the only other Rays rally he faced in the sixth. Still, his effort held up in a resourceful game from his teammates.
"It's always fun when you're winning," he said. "As a starting pitcher, to contribute to it is a lot of fun. You just have to keep it going."
Oakland took advantage of two errors and two walks to grab a 2-0 lead in the second inning against Rays starter Erik Bedard.
Designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes reached on a throwing error by shortstop Yunel Escobar. Catcher Derek Norris and first baseman Brandon Moss followed with what was at the time the Athletics' big-league-leading 199th and 200th walks of the season.
Bedard struck out second baseman Alberto Callaspo and induced right fielder Josh Reddick to hit a potential inning-ending, double-play grounder, but second baseman Sean Rodriguez slung the ball into left field attempting a force at second. Norris and Moss scored.
Bedard fell to 2-2 after allowing one earned run on one hit and three walks, with six strikeouts, in 5 1/3 innings.
"It's frustrating for me," he said, "but it's more frustrating for the team."
Moss upped the lead to 3-0 in the fourth with his 10th home run of the season and Oakland's lone hit. He is 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs in his career against Bedard. Moss is tied for third in the American League with 40 RBIs.
"It's not the easiest way to win a baseball game," Moss said. "I was talking about it in the ninth with Forsythe on first. I was like, 'Are you aware that we have three runs, one hit and this is a four-hour game?' I don't understand. That makes no sense."
Tampa Bay trimmed the deficit to 3-2 in the sixth on RBI singles by first baseman James Loney and Escobar, who each went 2-for-4.
Wil Myers (2-for-5) led off with a single, preceding third baseman Evan Longoria's walk. Milone retired two straight batters after Loney's team-leading 26th RBI of the season, but Escobar then singled off reliever Fernando Rodriguez to pull the Rays within a run.
Trailing 3-2, the Rays squandered a massive opportunity in the eighth, failing to score after singles by Loney and pinch hitter Matt Joyce and a walk to pinch hitter David DeJesus loaded the bases with one out. Reliever Fernando Abad escaped with the lead when Escobar bounced into an inning-ending double play.
NOTES: RHP Alex Cobb (left oblique strain) is expected to come off the disabled list and start Thursday against Oakland in the finale of the three-game series. RHP Chris Archer will move back a day in the rotation and work on five days of rest Friday against the Boston Red Sox. ... Rays manager Joe Maddon moved 3B Evan Longoria from his customary fourth spot in the lineup to second, and RF Wil Myers went from fifth to leadoff. Maddon wanted to give them at-bats as they are close to busting out of slumps, he said. ... Rays LHP Erik Bedard had not allowed a homer in a career-best 49 1/3 innings until Oakland LF Brandon Moss took him deep in the fourth inning.