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Washington at Tampa Bay

Washington (16-45)010300000490
Tampa Bay (34-31) «00020201x580

Rays 5, Nationals 4 wire reports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays gladly took a break.

Pinch hitter Willy Aybar got a lucky bounce, doubling off the third base bag in the eighth inning, and the Rays completed a sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 5-4 victory on Sunday.

"It's unusual to see that. I'll take it," manager Joe Maddon said after Tampa Bay's fifth straight win.

  Miller: Nats' Acta days appear numbered

Carlos Pena opened the eighth with a double off Ron Villone (3-3). After Ben Zobrist struck out, Aybar hit a ball down the line that nicked the bag and angled away from third baseman Willie Harris into left field for the go-ahead hit.

"I think he would have made that play easy," Pena said. "I had to freeze, then I saw the ball take a weird hop."

Said Washington manager Manny Acta: "I think what preceded that was more important than complaining about breaks."

Gabe Kapler homered in his third straight game and drove in three runs for Tampa Bay. Dan Wheeler (2-1) worked a perfect eighth and J.P. Howell pitched the ninth for his third save.

"Collectively as a team, I want to us to enjoy the moment," Kapler said. "It was an enjoyable day."

The Rays' bullpen has not given up a run in its last 22 1/3 innings. Tampa Bay has 17 comeback wins this season, including all three games with Washington.

"When you've had a bit of success in the past, you kind of expect to win it somehow," Maddon said. "That's helped us the past few days.

  Rays: Isringhausen to have MRI

Alberto Gonzalez drove in three runs for the Nationals, who have lost 15 of 18. Washington has been swept in seven series this year.

"We win as a team and we lose as a team," Acta said. "We haven't played the way we were expected to play. We're all accountable for what's going on."

Tampa Bay, which was down 4-0, tied it at 4 on Kapler's two-run homer in the sixth.

Kapler had a tiebreaking, pinch-hit home run n the eighth inning of the Rays' 4-3 win Friday night. He didn't hit any homers in his first 34 games this season.

Gonzalez put the Nationals ahead 1-0 on an RBI single in the second. He hit a two-run double off James Shields in a three-run fourth that made it 4-0.

"It's just tough for us," Harris said. "There's really no excuse for it. All you can do is go out there and put forth you best effort and see what happens. We're all trying."

Tampa Bay got within 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth on Kapler's RBI single and a run-scoring sacrifice bunt by Dioner Navarro.

Shields gave up four runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. Washington rookie Ross Detwiler allowed four runs, six hits and five walks over six innings.

The AL champion Rays are three games over .500 for the first time this year.

"You stink together through those tough times like we did early, you're going to have a little shine here," Howell said. "We kind of see the light and know that if we keep going we're going to have a pretty good push here."


Harris ran into a Nationals bullpen catcher while chasing Zobrist's foul ball in the eighth. ... Tampa Bay LF Carl Crawford was rested, but did enter as a pinch runner in the eighth. ... Washington LHP Scott Olsen (left shoulder tendinitis) allowed two runs and four hits over three innings in a minor league rehab start with Triple-A Syracuse. ... There has been at least one homer hit in all 33 games this season at Tropicana Field. The only other park in the majors to have a homer streak since from opening day is Yankee Stadium (32 games).

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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Players of the Game

A. Gonzalez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
Tampa Bay

G. Kapler
AB 2
R 1
H 2
HR 1
Washington Nationals
Willie Harris, 3B4000002 .222
   a- Austin Kearns, PH0000000 .207
Nick Johnson, 1B5020012 .315
Ryan Zimmerman, DH3000112 .310
Adam Dunn, LF4110024 .258
Elijah Dukes, CF4220011 .259
Corey Patterson, RF4000003 .000
Alberto Gonzalez, SS4123000 .319
Josh Bard, C3011001 .239
   b- Cristian Guzman, PH1000010 .322
Anderson Hernandez, 2B3010122 .269
a-hit by pitch for Harris in the 9th
b-struck out for Bard in the 9th
2B - Elijah Dukes 2 (12, Shields, Shields), Alberto Gonzalez (4, Shields), Josh Bard (6, Shields)
RBI - Alberto Gonzalez 3 (12), Josh Bard (8)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Harris-A. Hernandez-N. Johnson, Harris-A. Hernandez-N. Johnson, Detwiler-A. Hernandez-N. Johnson
Washington Nationals
Ross Detwiler 6644501 5.23
Julian Tavarez 1000120 4.26
Ron Villone (L,3-3) 0.1211110 0.96
Joe Beimel 0.2000010 3.91
IBB - Kapler by Ron Villone
Pitches-Strikes - Ross Detwiler 95-48, Julian Tavarez 14-7, Ron Villone 15-9, Joe Beimel 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ross Detwiler 9-6
Batters Faced - Ross Detwiler 26, Julian Tavarez 4, Ron Villone 4, Joe Beimel 1
Tampa Bay Rays
B.J. Upton, CF4020010 .218
Pat Burrell, DH2000201 .241
Evan Longoria, 3B4010012 .305
Carlos Pena, 1B3220100 .240
Ben Zobrist, 2B3100113 .309
Gabe Gross, RF2100100 .272
   a- Willy Aybar, PH1011000 .274
    Carl Crawford, PR-LF0000000 .316
Gabe Kapler, LF-RF2123200 .202
Dioner Navarro, C3001012 .205
Reid Brignac, SS3000001 .271
a-doubled for Gross in the 8th
2B - Carlos Pena (12, Villone), Willy Aybar (7, Villone)
HR - Gabe Kapler (3, Detwiler)
SH - Dioner Navarro (6)
RBI - Willy Aybar (20), Gabe Kapler 3 (11), Dioner Navarro (19)
2-OUT RBI - Gabe Kapler 2 (3)
SB - B.J. Upton 2 (24, 2nd base off Detwiler/Bard, 3rd base off Detwiler/Bard)
CS - Gabe Kapler (2, 2nd base by Beimel/Bard)
Team LOB - 6
Outfield Assists - Gabe Gross 1
PB - Dioner Navarro (3)
Tampa Bay Rays
James Shields 6.1944140 3.52
Randy Choate 0.2000110 1.13
Dan Wheeler (W,2-1) 1000000 4.79
J.P. Howell (S,3) 1000030 1.95
IBB - Zimmerman by Randy Choate
HBP - Kearns (by J.P. Howell)
WP - James Shields (1)
Pitches-Strikes - James Shields 92-66, Randy Choate 18-8, Dan Wheeler 14-10, J.P. Howell 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James Shields 6-8, Randy Choate 1-0, Dan Wheeler 1-2
Batters Faced - James Shields 28, Randy Choate 3, Dan Wheeler 3, J.P. Howell 4
Game Information
Attendance - 25841
Game Time - 2:47
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Paul Nauert