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Tampa Bay Rays weekly report


The Rays opened the week on Wednesday with a 4-3 loss to the White Sox. James Shields pitched well over 6 2/3 innings, but in the seventh after retiring the first two batters, he walked the third and was pulled. Chad Bradford left with lower back stiffness before throwing a pitch, and the bullpen lost the lead to the White Sox in the bottom of the seventh. Dan Wheeler (3-3) took the loss after failing to get a single out in the seventh, surrendering two hits and one earned run.

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The Rays' bats were so lifeless Thursday night, White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game as the Rays fell again to the Sox 5-0. Scott Kazmir (4-6) struggled with his command, allowing five runs on five hits, walking three and striking out five through six innings.

On Friday, the Rays started a three-game set with a win over the Blue Jays 4-2 in 10 innings with two runs in the top of the 10th. Matt Garza (7-7) matched Roy Halladay pitch for pitch, and after the Jays' ace was taken out the Rays got two men on base, Evan Longoria came through with a double to score both runners. Garza pitched nine innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs and striking out nine. J.P. Howell finished off the Blue Jays in the 10th for his 11th save of the season.

Saturday's game was the biggest comeback in Rays' history. Down 9-1 to the Blue Jays after six innings, the team came roaring back with four in the seventh, two in the eighth, two in the ninth to tie it and one in the top of the 12th to bring it on home. Carlos Pena and Pat Burrell had big hits to pull Tampa Bay within two and then Pena and Willy Aybar each had solo blasts in the ninth to tie it. Jason Bartlett came through in the clutch, doubling home Ben Zobrist for the go-ahead run in the 12th. J.P. Howell (6-2) got the win in relief with 1 2/3 innings of work, walking one and striking out two, and Joe Nelson notched his third save of the season.

Sadly for the Rays, the bats that had pulled out some dramatic wins fell silent against the Blue Jays on Sunday, and the Rays lost 5-1, though they took the three-game set. Carl Crawford went deep for the only Rays run. Jeff Niemann (9-5) took the loss. He pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits, five earned runs, one home run, walked one and struck out six.

The Rays opened their series with the New York Yankees with an 11-4 defeat on Monday night. They fell behind early and were down 5-1 after six innings as the Yanks hit four home runs off James Shields (6-7) and the bullpen. Pat Burrell homered in the ninth for his seventh of the year. Shields lasted just 5 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits, five earned runs, two homers, walking three and striking out two.

On Tuesday night, the Rays showed the Yankees what they've got with a 6-2 win. Scott Kazmir (5-6) made it past the seventh inning for the first time this season and earned his first win in more than two months. Evan Longoria had his 20th homer of the season in the fifth. Kazmir pitched seven innings, giving up five hits, one earned run, walking one and striking out four.


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