OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Erasmo Ramirez knew immediately that Athletics slugger Billy Butler made good contact on the 0-1 fastball the Rays reliever threw.
Ramirez just didn't know how good — and on a day in which Tampa Bay's offense slumbered through most of the game, it turned out to be just enough to send manager Kevin Cash's ballclub spiraling to a third consecutive loss.
Butler hit a tiebreaking home run off Ramirez with one out in the eighth inning and the A's held on to beat the Rays 3-2 on Sunday.
"He had the right swing at the right moment," Ramirez said of Butler. "I couldn't believe it. I thought it would be a double because it was a line drive, to the wall. But it wasn't there for me today. It was sad because we need the win."
The Rays have lost three straight after winning the opener of this series with the A's. Tampa Bay (38-60) fell 22 games under .500 for the third time this season.
"Home runs have beat us up a lot this year," Cash said. "Solo shots, two-run, three-run whatever they are it just seems we've given up uncharacteristic amount of home runs. Obviously when you give up that many, they're coming at the wrong time."
The Rays lost the previous two games on walkoff hits and trailed 2-0 until Logan Forsythe's tying two-run homer in the top of the eighth.
Tampa Bay's bullpen coughed up the lead not long after that.
Ramirez (7-8) retired Khris Davis on a fly ball before Butler hammered an 0-1 pitch over the wall in center. It's Butler's third home run of the season and first since June 7.
"It's been tough for him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It's tough for a guy that plays every day to try to get himself into a rhythm if he's not, but that's a big hit today."
Davis added two hits while Jake Smolinski doubled twice and scored for the A's. Oakland improved to 7-3 since the All-Star break.
Ryan Dull (4-2) retired two batters for the win despite giving up Forsythe's home run. Ryan Madson pitched the ninth for his 21st save.
Oakland jumped on Tampa Bay rookie left-hander Blake Snell early and strung together four consecutive one-out hits in the first. Davis had an RBI double and Butler added a run-scoring single to put the A's up 2-0.
Snell pitched fairly well despite being denied his bid at becoming the first Rays rookie starter to win in Oakland since 1998. The lefty allowed two runs over 6 2-3 innings with four strikeouts and one walk. "They got two runs quick and then I just let that go," Snell said. "I had to pick it up. The defense was playing really well behind me."
Rays: Desmond Jennings (strained left hamstring) ran the bases and took batting practice without a setback during a minor league rehab appearance. ... RHP Brad Boxberger threw 22 pitches in a rehab outing and is hopeful of rejoining the big league club in Los Angeles.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (5-13) pitches against the Dodgers in the opener of a two-game series on Tuesday. Archer entered the weekend leading the AL with 147 strikeouts.