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Tampa Bay at Florida

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Tampa Bay (23-22) «00011011610130
Florida (19-25)000100200373

Longoria, Bartlett help Rays pull away from struggling Marlins

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MIAMI -- An imprint in the pattern of baseball stitches was visible on Evan Longoria's upper left arm, a souvenir from an inside pitch he failed to avoid in the ninth inning.

The Tampa Bay Rays' latest win eased the pain.

Longoria hit a tiebreaking single in eighth to pad his major league-leading RBI total Saturday, and the Rays beat the hapless Florida Marlins 10-3.

Tampa Bay improved to 23-22 with its third consecutive win. The reigning AL champions are above .500 for the first time since April 13.

"That's how we played all last year," Longoria said. "The belief is back. In tight games we believe firmly we can win those games now. As long as we keep believing that, we're going to be pretty good."

Longoria came out of the game in the bottom of the ninth to ice his arm but said he was fine.

"It hit me right in the meat," he said. "That's a good spot."

While Longoria collected his 48th RBI, Jason Bartlett had three RBI and two hits to hike his average to .376, and reserve catcher Michel Hernandez drove in two runs for the Rays. Jeff Niemann allowed one run in six innings.

"Everybody is going to leave tonight feeling like they had a part in it, which is really a wonderful thing," manager Joe Maddon said. "I like our fight."

After winning 15-2 on Friday, the Rays benefited from another dismal performance by the slumping Marlins. Florida walked nine, hit a batter, balked home a run, committed three errors and allowed Tampa Bay to break a 3-all tie in the eighth with an unearned run.

Akinori Iwamura walked against Leo Nunez (2-2) to start the inning and advanced on a sacrifice. First baseman Jorge Cantu mishandled a grounder to put runners at the corners, and Longoria followed with a single.

The Rays added six runs in the ninth, including four off Matt Lindstrom, who balked in a run.

"That's a very tough ballclub over there, and they took it to us pretty good these past two nights," Lindstrom said. "We just have to find a way to respond."

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez was lucky to miss his team's latest loss. He was out of town to attend his daughter's high school graduation, and Florida played no better for bench coach Carlos Tosca.

Since an 11-1 start, the Marlins have gone 8-24.

"It has certainly been a struggle," infielder Wes Helms said. "But it's something you have to battle through. It's not something you can just wish away. You just have to keep working hard every night."

Even in better times Florida has struggled against the Rays, losing seven in a row in the Citrus Series. During that stretch the Marlins have been outscored by the Rays 68-19.

Tampa Bay won despite stranding 15 runners. The Rays, who entered leading the majors in runs, struggled to scratch out two against Sean West, who went five innings in his major league debut.

"It was like a dream being out there and facing guys like Longoria who you watched on TV last fall," West said.

The Rays had better luck against the Marlins' beleaguered bullpen, scoring off four relievers. Grant Balfour (2-0) struck out the only batter he faced for the win.

Carl Crawford scored twice and stole a base to improve to 26 for 26 this year. The Rays center fielder also robbed the Marlins twice on flyballs in the fourth, first retreating to make a leaping catch and then charging to make a sliding grab.

Tampa Bay closed to within 3½ games of AL East leader Toronto.

"Whenever we get a chance to get outside the AL East, we've got to try to win those games," Longoria said.

Notes

  • LHP David Price, who helped Tampa Bay reach the World Series last year, is expected to be promoted from Triple-A Durham to start Monday at Cleveland. "We haven't officially announced anything yet," Maddon said with a smile. "We don't want to tip the Indians off." Price would replace Scott Kazmir, who went on the disabled list Friday with a quadriceps strain.
  • With the Rays facing left-hander West, Maddon held AL home run leader Carlos Pena and Iwamura out of the starting lineup.
  • Marlins rookie LF Chris Coghlan is 2-for-27 on their homestand, dropping his average to .143.
  • With Niemann at 6-foot-9 and West at 6-8, the pitching matchup was the third-tallest in major league history.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Evan Longoria goes 2-for-5 and tacks on his big league-leading 48th RBI.  (AP)
Evan Longoria goes 2-for-5 and tacks on his big league-leading 48th RBI. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

J. Bartlett
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Tampa Bay

M. Hernandez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Tampa Bay Rays
B.J. Upton, CF4121101 .196
Carl Crawford, LF5310101 .319
Evan Longoria, 3B5021003 .331
    Reid Brignac, PR-2B0100000 .500
Willy Aybar, 1B3011112 .282
    J.P. Howell, P0000000 .000
    Grant Balfour, P0000000 .000
   a- Gabe Gross, PH1000012 .271
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
   b- Andy Sonnanstine, PH1000013 .250
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
Jason Bartlett, SS5123015 .376
Ben Zobrist, 2B-RF5131112 .292
Gabe Kapler, RF2000100 .190
   c- Carlos Pena, PH-1B1100202 .244
Michel Hernandez, C4122103 .297
Jeff Niemann, P2000023 .000
    Akinori Iwamura, 2B-3B1100112 .298
Totals391013998  
a-struck out for Balfour in the 8th
b-struck out for Wheeler in the 9th
c-walked for Kapler in the 7th
Batting
2B - B.J. Upton (8, Lindstrom), Evan Longoria (19, West), Jason Bartlett (11, Penn), Ben Zobrist (8, Lindstrom)
SF - Jason Bartlett (2)
SH - B.J. Upton (1), Jeff Niemann (1)
RBI - B.J. Upton (8), Evan Longoria (48), Willy Aybar (10), Jason Bartlett 3 (29), Ben Zobrist (23), Michel Hernandez 2 (10)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Bartlett 2 (13), Ben Zobrist (8), Michel Hernandez (3)
SB - Carl Crawford (26, 2nd base off Badenhop/Paulino), Jason Bartlett (13, 2nd base off Badenhop/Paulino)
Team LOB - 15
Tampa Bay Rays
Jeff Niemann 6411151 4.53
J.P. Howell (BS,3) 0.2222210 3.00
Grant Balfour (W,2-0) 0.1000010 5.03
Dan Wheeler (H,6) 1000010 5.06
Jason Isringhausen 1100010 0.00
HBP - Helms (by Jason Isringhausen)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Niemann 90-62, J.P. Howell 29-14, Grant Balfour 5-5, Dan Wheeler 9-6, Jason Isringhausen 24-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Niemann 5-8
Batters Faced - Jeff Niemann 23, J.P. Howell 6, Grant Balfour 1, Dan Wheeler 3, Jason Isringhausen 5
Florida Marlins
Emilio Bonifacio, 3B5010016 .261
Jeremy Hermida, RF5011015 .260
Hanley Ramirez, SS4010012 .323
Jorge Cantu, 1B4000001 .272
Dan Uggla, 2B4111020 .208
Cody Ross, CF3100110 .240
Ronny Paulino, C4020021 .232
Chris Coghlan, LF2100201 .143
Sean West, P1000010 .000
    Burke Badenhop, P0000000 .000
    Dan Meyer, P0000000 .000
   a- Ross Gload, PH1011000 .255
    Leo Nunez, P0000000 .000
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
    Hayden Penn, P0000000 .000
   b- Wes Helms, PH0000000 .216
Totals3337339  
a-singled for Meyer in the 7th
b-hit by pitch for Penn in the 9th
Batting
HR - Dan Uggla (8, Niemann)
SH - Sean West (1)
RBI - Jeremy Hermida (17), Dan Uggla (30), Ross Gload (6)
2-OUT RBI - Jeremy Hermida (10), Dan Uggla (16)
SB - Emilio Bonifacio (9, 2nd base off Niemann/Hernandez), Hanley Ramirez (8, 2nd base off Niemann/Hernandez)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Jorge Cantu (4, Misplayed grounder), Matt Lindstrom (1, Throwing), Dan Uggla (5, Misplayed grounder)
Florida Marlins
Sean West 5422450 3.60
Burke Badenhop 1.2311100 5.75
Dan Meyer 0.1000100 2.95
Leo Nunez (L,2-2) 1111110 3.38
Matt Lindstrom 0.1344110 6.75
Hayden Penn 0.2222110 6.97
IBB - Zobrist by Burke Badenhop
HBP - Longoria (by Hayden Penn)
Pitches-Strikes - Sean West 91-55, Burke Badenhop 33-19, Dan Meyer 13-7, Leo Nunez 21-14, Matt Lindstrom 17-10, Hayden Penn 25-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sean West 5-6, Burke Badenhop 2-3, Leo Nunez 2-1
Batters Faced - Sean West 24, Burke Badenhop 9, Dan Meyer 2, Leo Nunez 6, Matt Lindstrom 5, Hayden Penn 6
Game Information
Attendance - 20253
Game Time - 3:49
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Mark Carlson, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Bob Davidson, Third Base - Jeff Nelson