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Tampa Bay Rays weekly report


The Rays came back from the All-Star break raring to go, and began the second half of the season with an 8-7 win over the Kansas City Royals. Evan Longoria's two-out, two-run homer in the top of the eighth completed the comeback where the Rays were down 7-2 after three innings. James Shields yielded seven runs over 5 1/3 innings. Pat Burrell set up Longoria's heroics with a two-run shot in the seventh. Joe Nelson (3-0) got the win in relief, and J.P. Howell notched his seventh save of the season.

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Scott Kazmir's arm cramp gave the Rays a scare Saturday, but the Royals again fell 4-2 as Willy Aybar had the key hit, a double, in the three-run eighth inning to put the Rays over the top. Chad Bradford (1-0) tossed a third of an inning and collected the win, while J.P. Howell again closed out the game for his eighth save.

The Rays are in a tough division, but they showed up with their brooms and won 4-3 Sunday to sweep the Royals in a come-from-behind win. Matt Garza left after five shaky innings with the Rays down 3-0, but the bats woke up in the sixth, seventh and eighth frames for the Rays. Carlos Pena had an RBI single and Gabe Gross walked with the bases loaded to help the Rays take the three-game set. Grant Balfour (4-1) took the win in relief and J.P. Howell, someone the Royals had to dread seeing by this time, got his ninth save with an inning of relief.

On Monday the Rays almost made it four wins in a row since the All-Star break, but it was not to be. Still, it was close, and the Rays lost 4-3 to the Chicago White Sox. Carl Crawford had an inside-the-park home run, and Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria also went long. David Price (3-4) pitched six innings, giving up eight hits, four earned runs, walking two, striking out six and surrendering one home run.

On Tuesday, the Rays showed why they're still competitive in the AL East with a 3-2 win over the White Sox. Pat Burrell drew a bases-loaded walk and Carlos Pena hit a sacrifice fly to give the Rays two runs in the top of the ninth and a win. Jeff Niemann (9-4) pitched eight solid innings, giving up eight hits, two earned runs and striking out seven. J.P. Howell secured his 10th save with a scoreless bottom of the ninth in which he gave up a hit and struck out two.


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