The Rays opened the week on Wednesday with a big 9-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels. It was a tough night for starter Randy Niemann, but the bats bailed him out with nine runs in the first five innings. Willy Aybar had two hits and three RBIs and Ben Zobrist had two hits. Lance Cormier (1-1) got the win in relief.
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The Rays evened their record at 31-31 Thursday with an 11-1 pounding of the Angels. Although Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, Dioner Navarra and Carlos Pena each went deep, starter David Price struggled with his control and was pulled after 4 1/3 innings. Grant Balfour (3-1) got the victory in relief.
On Friday, the Rays continued their winning ways with a 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals. Matt Garza allowed three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, but the bullpen came through and then Gabe Kapler blasted a game-winning shot to left field in the bottom of the eighth to put the Rays on top for good. J.P. Howell (2-2) got the win in relief.
The Rays took the Nationals apart on Saturday, winning 8-3. The big inning for the Rays was the bottom of the sixth, when seven Rays crossed home plate. Ben Zobrist hit a three-run homer in that inning to put the Rays ahead, and Gabe Gross offered a two-run shot for some breathing room. Carlos Pena got the Rays on the board with a solo shot in the fourth. Andy Sonnanstine (5-6) threw 7 1/3 innings and struck out five on the way to his fifth win.
The Rays' march up the standings continued on Sunday with a 5-4 win over the Nationals to sweep the three-game series at the Trop. After falling behind early, the Rays came back and Gabe Kapler's homer in the sixth inning tied the game. A lucky bounce on a grounder off the bat of Willy Aybar proved to be good fortune for the Rays and got the go-ahead run across home. Dan Wheeler (2-1) picked up the win and J.P. Howell notched his third save of the season.
The off day Monday was good for the Rays, who resumed their winning ways with a 12-4 trouncing of the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday. The Rays got four RBIs on three base hits from Gabe Kapler, and three hits and three runs from Ben Zobrist, as they earned their sixth straight victory. Evan Longoria started the onslaught at the plate with a solo home run in the first inning. Jeff Niemann (6-4) took the victory with five innings of work.
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