While the fan base fretted that Oakland's offense was hurting without Yoenis Céspedes, the A's figured differently: The real catalyst for the lineup is Coco Crisp, out far too often the past month-plus with a neck injury.

On Monday, Crisp pinch-hit in the late going, and the A's wound up winners. And on Tuesday, Crisp drove in the first run of the game with an opposite-field single off Drew Smyly that brought home Alberto Callaspo from second.

Oakland grabbed a 3-0 victory over the Rays behind a good outing from starter Jason Hammel and more outstanding work by the bullpen.

"A lot of times in those games where the two teams match up well, the first run is a relief," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Crisp's impact. "Now you have a bit more swagger, and (Crisp) was the guy who delivered right there."

"It's always a good feeling to join in a win instead of just watching them," Crisp said. "It's nice to be back on the field and participating."

A high-wire act Tuesday might have earned Hammel another start in the A's rotation; after dropping each of his first four starts with Oakland, Hammel worked 5 2/3 scoreless innings, and he got a nice ovation when he left.

"That felt awesome," he said of the response. "I wanted to come in and make an immediate impact; it didn't work out the way, but it goes to show you how good the baseball fans are here.

"Obviously, (0-4) was not the start that I wanted, but to know that they're still for me there even when I'm not at my best, I'm very appreciative. It can only boost my confidence."

Scoreless outing Tuesday, yes. Pretty, no. The Rays had seven hits and drew four walks off him, but Hammel conjured up grounders here, foul outs there, and emerged, at long last, with a win.