OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -
wasn't as concerned with hitting his first home run of the season as he was with getting his batting stroke back in order.
Oakland's veteran slugger accomplished both against Tampa Bay, hitting a solo homer and scoring twice in the Athletics' 5-2
win over the
Tampa Bay Rays
''I just was more worried about taking good at-bats,'' said Giambi, after the A's ended their five-game losing streak. ''We
went on that road trip ... and I just got beat up a little bit. Then you start pressing and you start trying to swing harder
to make up for it. Hopefully I can keep working and relax up there now.''
It was the 396th career home run for Giambi, who signed a $5.25 million, one-year contract to return to Oakland after spending
the past seven seasons with the
New York Yankees
It was also just the seventh homer hit this season by Oakland, the fewest in the majors.
also hitting a home run and
adding a three-run double, the A's believe their offense is ready to break out of its early season slump.
''I've said it all spring, it's nothing new to us that this thing is going to happen,'' winning pitcher
said. ''(Giambi) feels energized by it and I think we all kind of got an uplifting spirit just watching him do what he does
as he's creeping ever closer to that milestone.''
Braden (2-2) allowed one run and four hits in 5 2-3 innings for Oakland, which had dropped nine of 12 before beating Tampa
Bay for its first win in a day game this season.
The A's lefty, who is the only Oakland starting pitcher to win a game this season, left after walking
to load the bases in the sixth. Braden told manager
he tweaked his groin an inning earlier but downplayed the injury afterward.
''It was just more of a precautionary thing,'' Braden said. ''No reason to try and battle. Heroes are made in September and
October, not April.''
pitched 1 1-3 shutout innings for his fourth save in five opportunities.
(1-2) gave up four runs in the loss. He struck out six in 5 2-3 innings but walked four, three of which scored.
''That one inning I tried to make the perfect pitch too many times and it cost me,'' Garza said. ''I was kind of being stubborn,
saying to myself that my two-seam was better than my four. I gave up one hit that inning and it cost me three runs and it
cost us the game.''
The homers by Giambi and Buck were shots in the arm for an Oakland team that went into the game last in the majors in numerous
offensive categories, including scoring, home runs, hits, RBIs and batting average.
Garciaparra, another offseason acquisition, made his first start defensively since injuring his right calf against Boston
on April 14. He hit a three-run double in the fourth after Garza walked the bases loaded, then later singled to raise his
batting average from .188 to .222.
The Rays scored their runs on
's RBI single in the fifth and Burrell's run-scoring single in the eighth.
Notes: A's RHP
, the projected opening day starter, remains on schedule while recovering from elbow surgery. ... Tampa Bay RHP
threw a scoreless inning in his third rehab outing Friday, an encouraging sign for the one-time closer. ''(Isringhausen) felt
good; his arm strength is building up and he's starting to feel better about repeating his delivery,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon
said. ''He's getting stronger and making progress.'' Maddon said Isringhausen will make at least two more minor league appearances
before the team decides what to do. ... Pena and 2B
will get a scheduled day off Sunday.