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Tampa Bay Rays weekly report


On June 3, the Rays started the week with their second straight win over the Kansas City Royals, a 9-0 shutout. Jeff Niemann (5-4) pitched a two-hitter and went the distance for the win, with some serious offensive help. Ben Zobrist hit a grand slam, Dioner Navarro had a solo shot and B.J. Upton drove int two runs. Niemann walked one and struck out nine.

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The Rays had the brooms out for the Royals on June 4, and their 3-2 win not only swept Kansas City but evened the team's record at 28-28. B.J. Upton's two-run homer in the eighth inning turned it around for James Shields (5-4). Carl Crawford started the fireworks in the seventh with a towering solo shot. Shields pitched eight innings, giving up six hits and two runs while striking out eight. J.P. Howell notched his second save.

On June 6, the Rays beat the New York Yankees 9-7 to start a rain-shortened series in the Big Apple. It wasn't easy, though, because the Yankees rallied with two runs in the eighth to tie the game, but the Rays plated four runs in the top of the ninth. Still, it was a close game because the Yankees scored twice in the bottom of the ninth. J.P. Howell (1-2) got the win, and Randy Choate notched his third save.

On Sunday, the Rays blew a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth when the Yankees rallied for three and beat the Rays 4-3. The Rays allowed two singles, two walks, committed a costly error and just missed a double play. Grant Balfour (2-1) took the loss.

On Monday, the Rays fell below .500 in their 5-3 loss to the Yankees. Andy Sonnanstine (4-6) gave up four home runs and while the Rays managed a three-run rally in the top of the fourth to tie the game, it wasn't enough. Sonnanstine pitched seven innings, giving up six hits, five earned runs, walking two and striking out one.

On Tuesday, the Rays lost the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. James Shields (5-5) settled down after allowing two runs in the first but his counterpart outdid him. Ben Zobrist's 12th homer of the season brought the Rays into striking distance in the eighth, but the rally fell short. Shields pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up 10 hits, two runs and striking out three.


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