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Cleveland at Tampa Bay

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Cleveland (14-23)2032000007112
Tampa Bay (17-20) «0003021118101

Upton's walk-off shot caps biggest comeback in Rays history

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Down seven runs, the Tampa Bay Rays never felt they were going to lose.

"You could see it in guys' eyes," B.J. Upton said after his ninth-inning homer capped the biggest comeback in franchise history and gave the defending AL champions an 8-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.

"We don't stop playing. The energy was still up in the dugout," Upton added. "There was a lot of game left."

A night after building a 9-0 lead and holding on in the late innings for an 11-7 victory, the last-place Indians jumped out to another big advantage against left-hander Scott Kazmir.

This time it was 7-0 before Cleveland's pitching and defense helped Tampa Bay, which got a strong performance from its bullpen, get back in it.

The Rays scored two runs on throwing errors and a third on a wild pitch before Ben Zobrist led off the bottom of the eighth with a solo homer that made it 7-all.

Upton led off the ninth with his first homer on a 3-2 pitch from Luis Vizcaino (0-1), who signed with Cleveland on Thursday.

"When you don't make your pitch, somebody hits it," said Vizcaino, who hadn't appeared in a game since April 21, when he was with the Chicago Cubs.

Grady Sizemore opened the game with the 19th leadoff home run of his career, breaking a tie with Kenny Lofton for the most in Indians history. Shin-Soo Choo homered for the second straight game, hitting a two-run shot that made it 7-0 in the fourth.

Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena and Willy Aybar drove in runs in the comeback against Indians starter Anthony Reyes and relievers Tony Sipp, Jensen Lewis and Rafael Betancourt, who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh only to give up Zobrist's tying homer in the eighth.

Cleveland's bullpen has been a problem all season.

"It was 9-0 last night. It's 7-0 tonight, and we end up losing the ballgame. At some point, these guys -- they've got to look in the mirror," said Indians manager Eric Wedge, who was ejected in the third for contesting a play at the plate.

"When you score seven runs, you should be up at home plate tension free," he added. "Our guys are up there and they're not tension-free for the fact they feel like they've got to score more runs, and that's ridiculous."

Dan Wheeler (1-0) pitched one inning to get the win. The Rays had previously overcome six-run deficits to win on five occasions, most recently on Sept. 24, 2008, at Baltimore, where they trailed 6-0 before winning 11-6.

Kazmir allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings -- his shortest outing of the season. Since beating Boston and the New York Yankees in his first two starts, the 25-year-old left-hander has yielded 30 runs, 41 hits and 22 walks in his last 28 2/3 innings.

"I'm just in a funk right now, and I'm going to get out of it," Kazmir said.

Reyes retired nine in a row before Upton doubled for Tampa Bay's first hit. The speedy center fielder stole third, giving the Rays at least one swipe in 17 consecutive games, and scored on Pena's RBI single.

The stolen base streak matches the longest in the AL since 1954. The 1976 Athletics and 2001 Yankees each swiped a base in 17 straight, while the longest stretch in the majors during that span is 29 by the 1985 Cardinals.

A second run in the Rays' fourth scored on Choo's throwing error from right field, and Aybar followed with a RBI single that trimmed Cleveland's lead to 7-3.

The Rays pulled within two runs on second baseman Jamey Carroll's throwing error in the sixth, and Jason Bartlett scored on a wild pitch that trimmed the deficit to 7-6 in the seventh.

Notes

  • Rays LF Carl Crawford returned to the lineup after missing one game because of a bruised right shoulder. He had his major league-leading 23rd and 24th steals.
  • Indians DH Travis Hafner, who's been on the 15-day disabled list since April 29 because of a sore right shoulder, began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus.
  • Rays DH Pat Burrell, who sat out his fourth consecutive game because of a sore neck, received a cortisone shot and will be out Saturday, too. His status will be re-evaluated on Sunday.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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This is the thanks B.J. Upton gets for hitting the walk-off home run in the ninth inning.  (AP)
This is the thanks B.J. Upton gets for hitting the walk-off home run in the ninth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

B. Upton
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Cleveland

S. Choo
AB 3
R 3
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF5111003 .226
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS4100122 .326
Victor Martinez, C5120011 .400
Shin-Soo Choo, RF3322201 .296
Jhonny Peralta, 3B3120101 .258
Mark DeRosa, 1B4012113 .245
Ryan Garko, DH4011113 .271
Matt LaPorta, LF4001002 .222
Jamey Carroll, 2B4020012 .286
Totals36711766  
Batting
2B - Jhonny Peralta (7, Kazmir)
HR - Grady Sizemore (7, Kazmir), Shin-Soo Choo (5, Kazmir)
SF - Matt LaPorta (1)
SH - Jhonny Peralta (1)
RBI - Grady Sizemore (25), Shin-Soo Choo 2 (23), Mark DeRosa 2 (25), Ryan Garko (15), Matt LaPorta (3)
2-OUT RBI - Mark DeRosa (10)
SB - Grady Sizemore (6, 2nd base off Cormier/Navarro)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Jamey Carroll (1, Throwing), Shin-Soo Choo (3, Throwing)
Cleveland Indians
Anthony Reyes 5.1553140 6.88
Tony Sipp0000100 4.26
Jensen Lewis (H,4) 1311000 4.50
Rafael Betancourt (BS,2) 1.2111221 4.95
Luis Vizcaino (L,0-1)0111001 2.45
IBB - Pena by Rafael Betancourt
WP - Tony Sipp (3), Jensen Lewis (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Anthony Reyes 80-49, Tony Sipp 6-2, Jensen Lewis 27-18, Rafael Betancourt 26-15, Luis Vizcaino 6-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anthony Reyes 4-8, Jensen Lewis 2-1, Rafael Betancourt 1-1
Batters Faced - Anthony Reyes 22, Tony Sipp 1, Jensen Lewis 6, Rafael Betancourt 7, Luis Vizcaino 1
Tampa Bay Rays
B.J. Upton, CF5231010 .190
Carl Crawford, LF4120011 .333
Evan Longoria, 3B3211122 .343
Carlos Pena, 1B3111101 .256
Willy Aybar, DH3011113 .275
Gabe Gross, RF2000001 .262
   a- Ben Zobrist, PH-RF2111000 .286
Akinori Iwamura, 2B3000102 .274
Jason Bartlett, SS4110011 .359
Dioner Navarro, C3000000 .183
Totals32810546  
a-hit into fielder's choice for Gross in the 6th
Batting
2B - B.J. Upton (7, An. Reyes), Jason Bartlett (8, Lewis)
HR - B.J. Upton (1, Vizcaino), Ben Zobrist (7, Betancourt)
SH - Dioner Navarro (5)
RBI - B.J. Upton (5), Evan Longoria (46), Carlos Pena (33), Willy Aybar (5), Ben Zobrist (18)
SB - B.J. Upton 2 (11, 3rd base off An. Reyes/Martinez, 3rd base off Betancourt/Martinez), Carl Crawford 2 (24, 2nd base off An. Reyes/Martinez, 2nd base off Betancourt/Martinez), Ben Zobrist (3, 2nd base off Lewis/Martinez)
CS - Akinori Iwamura (1, 2nd base by Betancourt/Martinez)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - B.J. Upton 1
E - Lance Cormier (1, Throwing)
Tampa Bay Rays
Scott Kazmir 3.11077422 6.97
Lance Cormier 2.2000130 2.17
Troy Percival 1000010 5.40
J.P. Howell 1100000 2.81
Dan Wheeler (W,1-0) 1000100 5.79
WP - Scott Kazmir (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 91-51, Lance Cormier 43-25, Troy Percival 16-10, J.P. Howell 16-9, Dan Wheeler 11-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 2-5, Lance Cormier 2-4, J.P. Howell 2-1, Dan Wheeler 2-1
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 23, Lance Cormier 10, Troy Percival 3, J.P. Howell 4, Dan Wheeler 4
Game Information
Attendance - 25827
Game Time - 3:28
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Tim McClelland