ST. PETERSBURG -- Oakland used its hit wisely Wednesday night, managing three runs around it.
The 1-to-3 ratio paid off with a 3-2 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Such is life in the Major Leagues when a team headed in the right direction plays one that is struggling, like the Rays.
"It's really one of the more unusual games to lose," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
"It's just an awkward game to give up one hit and lose," he added. "The one hit is a home run, and that's the deciding point. I'm smiling because it's such an awkward way to lose."
The Rays have lost four in a row and five of their past six games, moving to 19-28 while remaining in last place in the American League East.
Wednesday night's game was only the third in the past 22 years a team scored three runs or more on one hit or less. Seattle did it most recently, July 20 at Houston. Ironically, Erik Bedard, who started for the Rays on Wednesday night, took that loss for the Astros.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin did not seem to dwell on his team being held to one hit. After all, they did win the game.
"That's all you need," Melvin said, noting that the A's walked seven times and adding: "In Little League, I threw a one-hitter; the kid against us threw a no-hitter, and we ended up winning."
Brandon Moss had the A's only hit when he homered off Bedard in the fourth, giving the A's a 3-0 lead at the time.
"It's not the easiest way to win a baseball game," Moss said. "This is a tough place to hit. The ball looks different here."
Moss' blast ended at 49 1/3 innings Bedard's streak of not surrendering a home run, which dated back to Sept. 16 at Cincinnati.
Oakland put two on the scoreboard in the second when Tampa Bay got sloppy in the field.
Yoenis Cespedes led off the inning against Bedard and reached first on shortstop Yunel Escobar's throwing error. Bedard then walked Derek Norris and Moss. One out later Bedard looked as if he would escape when Josh Reddick grounded to Sean Rodriguez. But the second baseman threw wildly to Escobar covering at second. So instead of minting a double play, Rodriguez allowed Cespedes and Norris to score to put the A's up, 2-0.
"We've made mistakes on defense that have hurt us," Maddon said. "That's part of the issue. They're really standing out because we have not been able to hit through the mistake and eliminate that error moment. They've been magnified a bit, no doubt."
Bedard allowed one earned run on one hit while walking three and striking out six. He has allowed one earned run or fewer in five consecutive starts, tying his career-long streak. He has a 0.96 ERA over his past five starts.
"You battle out there, but we just came up a little short at the end," Bedard said. "You can't dwell on that; you just keep trying. It's frustrating for me, but it's more frustrating for the team. You always want to win."
Tampa Bay's offense continued to struggle. Tommy Milone held the Rays scoreless for five innings before James Loney singled home Wil Myers, leaving runners at first and second with no outs. Milone then retired Brandon Guyer and Rodriguez on infield popouts before giving way to Fernando Rodriguez.
Escobar greeted the A's right-hander with a single through the middle to drive home a run to cut the lead to 3-2.
But Escobar was unable to come through in the eighth when he hit into a bases-loaded, inning-ending double play.
"We're just putting a lot of balls on the ground in situations," Maddon said. "We have faced, according to our work, a lot of ground-ball pitchers against our hitters, and again, a lot of them are ground-ball hitters, too. We've tried to do some things, hit and run, but in certain moments, bases loaded, you're trying to get a ball into the outfield right there. We were unable to do so. It's a strange game. We have to keep fighting."
The Rays had one final chance to pull out the game in the ninth thanks largely to the catwalk that swatted Logan Forsythe's infield pop and turned the ball into a one-out single against A's lefty Sean Doolittle.
But Ryan Hanigan popped out, and Myers struck out swinging on the 11th pitch of his at-bat.
The Rays have scored in just two of the past 37 innings in which they have played.
"We have to continue to battle, because this was a really strange loss tonight," Maddon said.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.