ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Somebody turned off the spigot. Suddenly the A's offense has gone dry. And the A's early lead in the American League West is no more.

The A's began the weekend with a 2½-game lead in the West, then scored just four runs in three games against the Rays, who completed a sweep of the series with an 8-1 win Sunday. Texas moved past Oakland and into the A.L. West lead.

In 27 innings the A's came up 27 times with men in scoring position and got just three hits. Two of those hits were in the first inning Friday. In the subsequent 26 innings, the A's were 1 for 24 with runners in scoring position, the one hit being Josh Reddick's fourth-inning RBI single off the glove of Tampa Bay second baseman Ryan Roberts.

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar, right, forces out Oakland Athletics’ Jed Lowrie at second base on a fourth-inning fielder’s choice
Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar, right, forces out Oakland Athletics' Jed Lowrie at second base on a fourth-inning fielder's choice during a baseball game on Sunday, April 21, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Oakland's Brandon Moss was safe at first base. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) ( Chris O'Meara )

It ended an 0-for-9 streak for the struggling Reddick, whose average would have fallen under .100 without the hit. That much should have had Reddick thinking about better days ahead, but that wasn't happening in the quiet of the A's clubhouse.

It was also Reddick who dropped a routine fly ball in the first inning Sunday, enabling the Rays to score three times when it appeared A's starter Tommy Milone might pitch out of early trouble.

The dropped fly hurt, Reddick said, "especially when you are not helping the team (offensively)." Reddick said he didn't take too much comfort in the hit.

"I'm not where I want to be right now," he said.


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A's manager Bob Melvin was more encouraged about Reddick than the hitter was about himself and said the rest of the offense could take some lessons from the right fielder.

"Any time you get a hit, driving in a run -- we have a few guys who are frustrated at this point -- you just got to battle your way through it," Melvin said. "No one's going to feel sorry for you. You just have to find a way to get a few hits and get your confidence back."

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Tommy Milone (57) delivers to Tampa Bay Rays’ Desmond Jennings during the first inning of  of an MLB American
Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Tommy Milone (57) delivers to Tampa Bay Rays' Desmond Jennings during the first inning of of an MLB American League baseball game Sunday, April 21, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) ( Chris O'Meara )

First baseman Brandon Moss was moved into the cleanup spot Sunday for just the second time this season. He struggled mightily, going 0 for 4 while stranding eight base runners.

"Obviously we didn't do our jobs today, at least I know I didn't, leaving guys in scoring position in every at-bat," Moss said. "At the same time, they made some really good pitches. You take your lumps, just like you take your wins. And it'd be stupid for us to get down on ourselves after three losses, especially when they pitched as well as they did. That's just baseball."

Moss wasn't alone in his struggles. The A's had five innings against starter Roberto Hernandez and the Rays bullpen when they not only got the leadoff hitter on but also moved him into scoring position.

And only Reddick delivered.

"We're pressing some with runners on," Melvin said. "We're getting guys on base and not getting the big hit. Three days ago, we were getting all the big hits. For a series here, we didn't, and we've got to put this behind us and go play better in Boston."

The sweep at the hands of the Rays makes for the first three-game losing streak of the season for Oakland, which has three games against the Red Sox, a team that has grabbed baseball's spotlight again as they are proving to be therapy for the city and the region that was racked by bombings and police manhunts in the last week.

  • The A's are hopeful opening-day starter Brett Anderson will be able to make his scheduled start Wednesday in Boston. He threw a side session in the bullpen Sunday and didn't feel any pain from his sprained right ankle. He came out of the game after one inning following the sprain Friday night.

  • Chances are good that left fielder Yoenis Cespedes will be able to come off the disabled list as scheduled April 28, but before he does, he's got to go through a process that includes hitting off a tee Sunday and Monday and some batting practice hitting off coaches before possibly getting a couple of games in the minor leagues on an injury rehabilitation assignment. "He may need a few at-bats in rehab games," Melvin said. "We'll take that into consideration."

  • A.J. Griffin, the A's starting pitcher Monday in Boston, has never pitched in Fenway Park. He did stop there with Team USA for a workout in 2008. He's 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox, both of those last year in Oakland.

    Monday's game

    A's (A.J. Griffin 2-0) at Boston (Felix Doubront 1-0), 3:35 p.m. CSNCA