ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Ted Lilly made an outstanding first impression for the Oakland Athletics.
The left-hander did not allow a hit for 4 2-3 innings in his Oakland debut as the A’s beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-0 Monday night.
Lilly, acquired from the New York Yankees on July 5 as part of a three-team, seven-player trade, made his first appearance since a June 29 loss to the New York Mets in which allowed six runs in four innings.
Lilly (4-6), who pitched a one-hitter and a three-hitter this season for the Yankees, didn’t allow a hit until John Flaherty singled to left with two outs in the fifth inning. He left after the first two batters reached in the seventh.
“Fantastic,” Oakland manager Art Howe said. “And for such a long layoff, that was an outstanding performance.”
In all, Lilly allowed three hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
“I felt pretty good throughout the game,” Lilly said. “I wasn’t sure how long I was going to be out there, so I didn’t try to overthrow and I think that’s one of the things that was effective for me.”
Chad Bradford, Mike Venafro and Billy Koch finished the four-hitter.
Miguel Tejada had two RBIs for Oakland, which has won eight of 11. The Athletics are 7-1 against Tampa Bay this season, and have won 11 of their past 12 against the Devils Rays.
Tampa Bay starter Ryan Rupe (5-10) lasted just 2 1-3 innings — allowing three runs, four hits and three walks — in his first start since June 19. The right-hander aggravated a right knee injury that landed him on the 15-day disabled list last month.
“If I was guessing, it would probably look that way,” said Rupe, when asked if he thought the injury would put him back on the DL. “I tweaked it pretty good again. It’s frustrating. There’s nothing I can do about it. You keep your head up, and keep going.”
Rupe, likely to undergo an MRI exam Tuesday, is the second Tampa Bay starter to be hurt in as many days. Wilson Alvarez reported arm discomfort Monday, one day after pitching just 1 2-3 innings.
The Devil Rays have lost 10 of 11, and have a major league-worst record of 29-61. Tampa Bay has been shutout 11 times, tying Kansas City for the most this season in the majors.
The latest defeat comes one day after Tampa Bay battled back from a 5-0 deficit against Seattle All-Star Freddy Garcia to tie the game before dropping a 7-6 decision.
“Our bats were cold,” Tampa Bay manager Hal McRae said. “I thought we would have a good game today. I really did. I’m surprised we didn’t swing the bats better today.”