Returning home after a miserable 2-7 road trip, the Rays got just what the doctor ordered on Friday, pounding out 10 hits for eight runs, while the pitching staff held one of the hottest clubs in baseball in check for an 8-3 Tampa Bay victory.
That hasn't been a recipe the Rays have been able to put together frequently so far this season, but they'll try to turn in a repeat performance Saturday as they aim to secure a series win against the A's, who had won three in a row before Friday.
On the mound for the Rays will be Jeremy Hellickson, who is coming off his best start of the season when he allowed just two runs on three hits over seven innings on Monday against the Red Sox. Despite taking a no-decision in the game, the right-hander was pleased with his performance, especially in striking out nine batters, an unusually high number for the fly-ball pitcher.
"I felt good about it," Hellickson said. "There were a few pitches I would like to have back, but all in all, I felt really good. My curveball was probably the best it's been in a while, so hopefully that can continue."
Before their relatively low output on Friday, the A's had scored 22 runs in their previous three games against the Astros, a number that makes Hellickson understandably weary of facing the Oakland lineup.
"I've definitely seen what they've been doing," he said. "It's a really good lineup. I don't think they added too many new guys, but it's a complete lineup, one through nine. It's going to be a tough outing."
Opposing Hellickson for the A's will be Jarrod Parker. The right-hander hasn't experienced much success so far in 2013, not making it out of the fourth inning his last two times out. Against the Tigers on Sunday, the 24-year-old surrendered eight runs on nine hits over 3 1/3 frames.
"I'm upset. I'm not happy with what's going on," Parker said after the game. "I can't dwell on it either. I just need to get back out and play the game."
Rays: Scott making strides in return
Still rehabbing a right calf strain that has kept him sidelined since the spring, Luke Scott ran full-speed on the field and threw in the outfield Friday, and he hopes to start an official Minor League rehab assignment "as soon as I can."
Scott said the assignment will begin as soon as head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield gives the designated hitter his final clearance to get back in a game, which won't come until at least Sunday. Scott added that he hasn't been told how many at-bats he'd need before rejoining the Rays.
While Scott said he felt good throwing from about 280-290 feet in the outfield, he expects he'll only be used as a DH on his rehab assignment.
Asked if he could possibly return as soon as Tampa Bay's next road trip, which begins Thursday in Chicago against the White Sox, Scott replied, "You never know, man. Hopefully sooner. I like to be optimistic and look at the bright side."
Athletics: Moss back from paternity leave
Brandon Moss was back in the A's lineup starting at first base Friday night after leaving the club to be with his wife, Allison, for the birth of their newborn son, Brody.
"It was hard to leave. I got one day with him, and then I had to leave," said Moss, who took paternity leave and missed the A's games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
His son was born on Tuesday afternoon.
"When our first son was born it was in October ['09], and I got to spend the whole offseason with him," he said. "But I'm not the first person to have to leave like that. I'll get my time with [Brody], I'm sure."
Shane Peterson, who filled in for Moss, returned to Triple-A Sacramento. Moss went 2-for-3 with a RBI on Friday.
• The A's are 2-0 in one-run games and both of those wins have come in the club's last at-bat.
• After an 0-for-12 start to the season with the bases loaded, the Rays finally got their first hit in 2013 with the bases full on Friday when Jose Lobaton singled in the first inning to plate a pair of runs.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.