The Motor City men put up another run in the third on Damons home run to right. The Rays answered back with two in the home half; Crawford reached on an infield single and Longorias base hit moved him into scoring position at second base. Pena then singled, bringing CC around to score and advancing Longo to second; he moved to third on Joyces fielders choice, which saw Pena thrown out at second. Willy Aybar got enough on his ground-ball fielders choice to allow Longoria to score as the Rays tied it up with a little small ball. This tactic worked well in the bottom of the fourth as well. Reid Brignac led off with a double and scored on Jason Bartletts single; Bartlett moved to second on the throw to home. Sean Rodriguez in for Zobrist, who left with stiffness in his back flied out deep to center, allowing Bartlett to tag up and advance to third. After a Detroit pitching change, Crawford put the ball in play, picking up an RBI on his groundout to second as Bartlett crossed the plate; the Rays ended the inning with a two-run lead.
Cabrera, the best hitter in the American League, showed everyone why hes contending to win the tripe crown when he went deep on a well-hit ball to left field, cutting the Rays lead in half. Detroit threatened in the top of the seventh, as reliever Grant Balfour pitched out of a bases-loaded situation for the second night in a row after intentionally walking Cabrera; with two already away, he got Boesch to fly out to left.
Joaquin Benoit threw a shut-down top of the eighth, so the score remained 5-4 in favor of Tampa Bay until the bottom of the eighth, when Longo tacked on some insurance with a long ball to left of his own. Evans third hit of the night got him tow RBIs, as Crawford scored from first base on Longorias 15th homer of the season. Rafael Soriano retired the three Detroit batters of the ninth in succession.
Back in the saddle[image-1]
Tampa Bay won this one the Rays way, as I like to say. Battling, grinding, working their runs in. Sure, Longorias flashy homer was great to pad the lead but this was one the Bay-area boys gutted out with sheer will. Longoria told Sun Sports Todd Kalas after the game that Niemann has done such a great job picking the team up throughout the season, it was nice to return the favor for once. Jeff improved to 9-3 on the year and Soriano picked up his 28th save.
Dare I say it? Indeed. Bring out the brooms! The Rays are looking for their first series sweep since dusting the wounded Red Sox the first week of July and I think theyre walking with enough swagger to pull it off in tomorrows noon matinee. David Price gets the start, looking for his 14th win as Tampa Bay looks for its sixth-straight victory.
Id love to give you more in this one, but I have to cut it short so Im fresh as a spring chicken for tomorrows game. Take the day off and come out and join me!