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Rays play rare home doubleheader vs. reeling A's

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Rays and Oakland Athletics will play the second doubleheader in the history of Tropicana Field on Saturday.

The Rays will start Erasmo Ramirez (3-1, 4.09 ERA) in the first game and follow with Matt Andriese (5-1, 3.45), who will be activated off the 10-day disabled (groin) before the start of the second game.

The Athletics will counter with right hander Sonny Gray (2-2, 4.57) in the opener and Sean Manaea (5-3, 3.81) in Game 2.

Oakland (26-34) is 8-21 on the road and manager Bob Melvin believes the Athletics played one of their worst games of the season in a 13-4 loss Friday in the series opener.

Melvin is hopeful of a turnaround and believes that his young team needs to have some positive results Saturday.

"It's a commitment to going out there and believing you are going to win every day," Melvin said. "No one feels sorry for you in this league. We play pretty well at home, but struggle on the road. We have to find a better way to play on the road.

"A lot of times that's getting in the dugout in the first inning without giving up a run and that wasn't the case again Friday."

The Rays (32-31) were able to benefit from the blowout win Friday when Cash pulled several starters after the sixth inning and did not have use up much of his bullpen.

"It's going to be a very long day Saturday," Cash said. "But when you win the first one and the opportunity to win two in one day is pretty special. It's very difficult to do but it makes for a long day for the players. We have to make sure everyone stays fresh in between the games and hopefully they are quick, efficient games."

Ramirez has been the Tampa Bay's most efficient starter when he's been placed in that role. However, he struggled in his last start against Seattle, giving up four runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Cash believes the Rays are in a position to make the standings in the American League East even tighter after Saturday but he doesn't want his team too comfortable because of the current three-game win streak.

"Oakland is dangerous, they have some guys in their lineup that can hit the ball out of the ball park," Cash said. "Khris Davis has 17 home runs and they have other guys that can beat you on one pitch, so we have to limit base runners when those guys come up."

Gray is 2-1 in his last four starts and he gave up three runs over seven innings in his last start, a no-decision against the Washington Nationals. Gray is 2-2 with a 4.22 ERA in seven starts against the Rays.

Manaea has one career start against the Rays and pitched eight shutout innings but did not get a decision.

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