|Tampa Bay (61-42) «||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||2||1||5||8||0|
|Kansas City (46-59)||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||0||1||3||10||0|
Crawford's tiebreaking, two-run triple with two outs in the eighth inning came after German couldn't hold onto a foul ball, and sent the Rays to a 5-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
Crawford drove in Akinori Iwamura and B.J. Upton with his second triple of the game and put the Rays up 4-2. It was the seventh career two-triple game for Crawford and second of the season.
"It feels good to hit the ball hard and get the base hit," he said. "We really needed it. It feels good to contribute. It's a big outfield, so if you hit in gap it's a pretty good chance to get a triple."
Before the triple, German nearly caught Crawford's foul ball, but it fell out of his glove when he ran into the wall.
"We got the break with B.J.," Crawford said. "And the foul ball down the line, I thought the left fielder was going to catch the ball at first and then I was able to get the hit. It seemed like the ball just bounced our way."
Upton's double to shallow right eluded second baseman Mark Grudzielanek and right fielder Jose Guillen and probably should have scored Iwamura, but he didn't run hard enough, which irked Rays manager Joe Maddon.
"I didn't know it was going to drop, but I knew it was going to be trouble," Upton said. "I kept running, did my job to get to second and it fell. That was definitely a big break right there. The foul ball CC (Crawford) hit down the line, probably should have been an out, but it's a tough play with the wall right there. We just capitalized on it. That's been us all season. You give us a second chance and we normally take advantage."
Carlos Pena added a home run in the ninth, helping Tampa Bay extend its AL East lead to two games over Boston.
"We love to watch those balls go a long way," Crawford said.
Al Reyes (2-2) earned the win with a scoreless seventh inning. Troy Percival, who returned from the disabled list Sunday, worked the ninth for his 22nd save in 24 opportunities. He gave up a run on Ross Gload's leadoff triple and German's single.
Ramirez (1-1) took the loss. He retired the first eight batters before the Royals' defense betrayed him.
"As a pitcher my job is to pick up some guys sometimes and I wasn't able to do that," Ramirez said. "The pitch to Crawford wasn't in enough. It caught too much plate."
Pena hit his 17th homer leading off the ninth. He is batting .393 with four home runs and 11 RBI against the Royals this season.
Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir, who is 2-4 in his past nine starts, left after five innings with the score tied at 2. He yielded two runs and seven hits, walking none and striking out five.
After a 73-minute rain delay, the Royals tied it in the fifth when Guillen's single scored Grudzielanek, who had three doubles to match a career high. Guillen was in a 1-for-21 skid with one RBI since the All-Star break before that hit.
Gload's two-out single in the fourth scored Billy Butler, who led off the inning with a single, with the first Kansas City run.
The Rays scored their first two runs on groundouts. Pena, who opened the second with a walk, scored on Eric Hinske's groundout. Evan Longoria led off the fourth with a double, his 45th extra-base hit -- which leads all rookies. He stopped at third on Pena's single and scored on Willy Aybar's groundout.
Royals rookie starter Luke Hochevar held the Rays to four hits and two runs in five innings but did not return after the rain delay.
"I thought he did a good job of mixing and matching his pitches," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "He fell behind in some counts, but did a good job of getting back into the count and limited the damage and gave us a chance to win.
|Players of the Game|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Akinori Iwamura, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||.275|
|B.J. Upton, CF||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||.269|
|Carl Crawford, LF||4||0||2||2||0||0||0||.267|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||.276|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||3||2||2||1||1||1||0||.238|
|Willy Aybar, DH||4||0||0||1||0||0||0||.230|
|Dioner Navarro, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.315|
|Eric Hinske, RF||2||0||0||1||0||0||0||.254|
|a- Jonny Gomes, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.195|
|Gabe Gross, RF||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.223|
|Jason Bartlett, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.258|
|a-popped out for Hinske in the 8th|
|2B - B.J. Upton (23, Ramirez), Evan Longoria (25, Hochevar)|
|3B - Carl Crawford 2 (7, Hochevar, Ramirez)|
|HR - Carlos Pena (17, Peralta)|
|RBI - Carl Crawford 2 (50), Carlos Pena (53), Willy Aybar (10), Eric Hinske (46)|
|2-OUT RBI - Carl Crawford 2 (12)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Longoria-Iwamura-Pena|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Al Reyes (W,2-2)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||4.12|
|Dan Wheeler (H,22)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.18|
|Troy Percival (S,22)||1||2||1||1||0||0||0||3.69|
|HBP - Buck (by Scott Kazmir)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 91-60, Trever Miller 21-11, Al Reyes 7-6, Dan Wheeler 6-3, Troy Percival 22-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 3-7, Trever Miller 1-0, Al Reyes 2-0, Dan Wheeler 1-2, Troy Percival 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 23, Trever Miller 5, Al Reyes 3, Dan Wheeler 3, Troy Percival 5|
|Kansas City Royals|
|David DeJesus, CF||4||0||0||0||1||0||2||.301|
|Mike Aviles, SS||5||0||1||0||0||2||2||.302|
|Mark Grudzielanek, 2B||5||1||3||0||0||0||2||.306|
|Jose Guillen, RF||4||0||1||1||0||0||4||.260|
|Billy Butler, DH||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.253|
|Alex Gordon, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.247|
|John Buck, C||2||0||0||0||1||1||1||.251|
|Ross Gload, 1B||4||1||2||1||0||0||2||.270|
|Esteban German, LF||4||0||2||1||0||2||2||.255|
|2B - Mark Grudzielanek 3 (24, Kazmir, Kazmir, Kazmir)|
|3B - Ross Gload (1, Percival)|
|SH - Alex Gordon (1)|
|RBI - Jose Guillen (67), Ross Gload (25), Esteban German (12)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jose Guillen (30), Ross Gload (10)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Aviles-Gload|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Horacio Ramirez (L,1-1)||2.2||3||2||2||0||1||0||2.79|
|Pitches-Strikes - Luke Hochevar 78-48, Horacio Ramirez 43-30, Ramon Ramirez 3-2, Joel Peralta 20-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke Hochevar 10-4, Horacio Ramirez 5-2, Joel Peralta 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Luke Hochevar 19, Horacio Ramirez 11, Ramon Ramirez 1, Joel Peralta 5|
|Attendance - 24322|
|Game Time - 3:09|
|Temperature - 89|
|Umpires - Home - Paul Nauert, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Jerry Crawford|