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Tampa Bay Rays weekly report


The Rays opened the week on Wednesday with a 7-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. A five-run eighth inning helped seal Matt Garza's fifth win against five losses. Pat Burrell homered in the second and Jason Bartlett, who tied a club record by extending his hitting streak to 18 games, helped the Rays in their big rally. Garza gave up three hits and one run in eight innings of work, walking three and striking out seven.

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On Thursday, the Rays took the rubber game of the three-game set against the Phillies with a 10-4 come-from-behind win over their World Series rivals. Down 4-0 before a Ray could even pick up a bat, the team posted six runs in the first two innings and added three in the sixth and one in the seventh to complete their revenge against the Phils. Ben Zobrist hit his 16th homer, and Willy Aybar also went deep and had three RBIs. After a rough start, Andy Sonnanstine (6-7) settled down and struck out seven.

The Florida Series began Friday with the Rays beating the Florida Marlins 7-3 behind B.J. Upton's bat. Upton opened up the game in the bottom of the eighth with a bases-clearing double that was the highlight of a four-run rally that broke a 3-3 tie. Starter James Shields was in line for the "W" until he yielded a game-tying shot to Hanley Ramirez in the top of the seventh. J.P. Howell (3-2) took the win in relief.

The Marlins must hate J.P. Howell (4-2), who was again the winning pitcher in the Rays' 3-2 win over the cross-state rivals on Saturday. After falling behind 2-0, the Rays came back in the bottom of the fourth and fifth with solo runs. Jason Bartlett tied the game in the fifth with a double and scored when B.J. Upton eluded the tag for a bunt single. Bartlett was the hero again in the ninth, hitting a single, stealing second, moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on Willy Aybar's sacrifice fly.

The Rays brought the brooms on Sunday and finished off the Marlins 5-2 to sweep the three-game set. David Price (2-2) turned in his best start of the season, giving up one run on two hits in 6 1/3 innings. B.J. Upton's solo shot in the third put the Rays ahead for good, and Marlins nemesis J.P. Howell again arrived to pitch 2/3 of an inning and notch his fifth save of the season.

The Rays' winning ways continued on Monday as the team took its sixth straight win with a 4-1 defeat of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays stole three bases, but were caught twice, and used home runs by Carl Crawford and Pat Burrell to back a strong performance by Jeff Niemann. He pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and one earned run. Randy Choate closed it out for his fourth save of the season.

On Tuesday, the Rays won their seventh straight game, a 4-1 victory over the Blue Jays. B.J. Upton got the fun started with a home run on the first pitch of the game, and Carl Crawford and Willy Aybar added solo shots to help seal the win for Matt Garza (6-5). Garza pitched seven innings, gave up one hit, one earned run, walked three and struck out three. J.P. Howell tossed an inning to notch his sixth save of the season.


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