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Tampa Bay at Houston

Scoreboard
Tampa Bay (44-34) «30110204314191
Houston (28-51)12220012010140

Longoria's two home runs help Rays sweep Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Down by a run with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon wrestled with whether to send up his last remaining position player as a pinch-hitter.

Maddon did it and quickly knew he had made the right decision.

Matt Joyce delivered a go-ahead, pinch-hit double Sunday that sent the Rays over the Houston Astros 14-10 for a three-game sweep.

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"If I have a chance to really think about it, it's pretty easy," Maddon said. "When everything is rushing through your head ... there's all these different thoughts. But at the end of the day the one thought that is overriding was, the bases are loaded, two outs, this is your best chance to win the game right there. And that's what I went with."

Joyce didn't think Maddon was going to use him there.

"I didn't have my batting gloves on because I didn't expect to hit for [Sean Rodriguez] because I kind of expected to hit for a pitcher in a later inning," Joyce said. "

Evan Longoria had two home runs and five RBI. B.J. Upton hit a home run for the third consecutive day and tied a season high with four RBI for the Rays, who have won four in a row to improve to a season-high 10 games over .500.

Longoria came within a triple of the cycle and had his first multihomer game since 2009 -- one of his home runs was initially ruled a single until the call was overturned after a video replay review.

Longoria had eight hits, including three home runs, and 10 RBI in the series while going without batting gloves for the first time since his rookie season.

With the way he's hitting, he may never put on the gloves again.

"I don't know, I feel pretty good right now," he said. "It's all in the way my swing's feeling and it just so happens that it started happening without the batting gloves. So I'm just going to continue until either my hands go or I've got to change it up again."

Joyce's two-out, two-run double put the Rays ahead 9-8. Casey Kotchman followed with a two-run single.

With all their position players on the bench used, Tampa Bay sent Saturday's starting pitcher, Wade Davis, to bat as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. He got his first career hit on a single to right field to make him the first pitcher in Rays history to get a hit as a pinch-hitter. He was later thrown out at home in a collision that shook up catcher Carlos Corporan.

Longoria then hit a three-run homer with two outs to give the Rays a four-run lead.

The Astros had taken an 8-7 lead in this wild, back-and-forth game on a solo home run by Jeff Keppinger off J.P. Howell (1-1) in the seventh.

"After the fourth inning, I felt like we had already been through nine innings," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "I know it was a long game anyway, but it seemed like the fourth inning almost felt like the ninth."

Tampa Bay used 21 players in the interleague matchup. Maddon enjoys games in National League parks because it gives more players a chance to get involved and he likes the unique challenges of managing them.

"National League games are a blast," he said. "They really challenge you mentally. It's a totally different game than the American [League]. There's no comparison mentally to the thoughts that you go through on a nightly basis in a National League game compared to an American League game. Not even close."

Matt Downs hit a two-run homer off Joel Peralta in the eighth inning to get Houston within 11-10. Reliever Adam Russell gave up a single to Clint Barmes before a sacrifice bunt and a double play ended the inning.

"It was a pretty exciting game, and they are fun to play like that when they are close," Barmes said. "In these types of games, you are never out of it. Both sides swung the bat really well. It is just tough coming up on the short end."

Houston reliever Wilton Lopez (1-4) took the loss.

Upton's home run gave the Rays a 3-0 lead in the first. He drove in another run in the third to end the three-game series with seven RBI.

Longoria's first homer was a two-run shot and came in the sixth. The ball, which bounced off the hands of a fan in the first row of the Crawford Boxes, was originally ruled in play and he was thrown out at second. The call was changed following the replay, and that made the score 7-7.

Rays starter Jeff Niemann, who is from Houston and played at Rice, allowed seven hits and five runs in his second game since coming off the disabled list with a back injury.

Niemann singled on a grounder in the second for his first career hit. He became the first Tampa Bay pitcher to get a hit this season after the staff entered Sunday's game 0 for 19.

Houston starter J.A. Happ yielded nine hits and five runs in five innings.

Notes

  • Carlos Lee has three triples this season to tie a career-high from 2001 with the White Sox.
  • The Rays return home on Monday after playing 30 of their past 47 games on the road.
  • Upton had hit only one home run in the previous 30 games before this series.
 
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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B.J. Upton further familiarizes himself with the basepaths in Houston after going deep for the third consecutive day.  (Getty Images)
B.J. Upton further familiarizes himself with the basepaths in Houston after going deep for the third consecutive day. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

E. Longoria
AB 6
R 3
H 4
HR 2
RBI 5
Houston

J. Keppinger
AB 3
R 3
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Johnny Damon, LF6340001 .274
Ben Zobrist, RF-2B5431111 .268
Evan Longoria, 3B6345014 .253
B.J. Upton, CF5224122 .228
Sean Rodriguez, 2B2000210 .224
   a- Matt Joyce, PH-RF2112011 .310
Casey Kotchman, 1B5022012 .343
Kelly Shoppach, C3000024 .182
   b- John Jaso, PH-C2000001 .220
Elliot Johnson, SS4110022 .204
    J.P. Howell, P0000000 .000
    Joel Peralta, P0000000 .000
    Adam Russell, P0000000 .000
   c- Wade Davis, PH1010000 .500
    Kyle Farnsworth, P0000000 .000
Jeff Niemann, P1010000 .333
   d- Justin Ruggiano, PH1000011 .305
    Cesar Ramos, P0000000 .000
   e- Sam Fuld, PH1000002 .241
    Juan Cruz, P0000000 .000
    Reid Brignac, SS2000011 .182
Totals46141914413  
a-doubled for S. Rodriguez in the 8th
b-popped out for Shoppach in the 7th
c-singled for Russell in the 9th
d-struck out for Niemann in the 4th
e-lined out for Ramos in the 5th
Batting
2B - Ben Zobrist (25, Happ), Evan Longoria (13, Happ), Matt Joyce (17, Melancon), Casey Kotchman (14, Happ), Elliot Johnson (3, Happ)
HR - Evan Longoria 2 (9, Lopez, Melancon), B.J. Upton (11, Happ)
RBI - Ben Zobrist (40), Evan Longoria 5 (33), B.J. Upton 4 (41), Matt Joyce 2 (38), Casey Kotchman 2 (22)
2-OUT RBI - Evan Longoria 3 (18), Matt Joyce 2 (17), Casey Kotchman 2 (9)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Longoria-Kotchman
E - Kelly Shoppach (2, Throwing)
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeff Niemann 3755020 5.58
Cesar Ramos 1221000 4.13
Juan Cruz 2100020 3.14
J.P. Howell (W,1-1) 1111001 9.31
Joel Peralta0222001 4.00
Adam Russell (H,2) 1100000 2.63
Kyle Farnsworth 1000010 1.99
WP - Jeff Niemann (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Niemann 66-43, Cesar Ramos 14-9, Juan Cruz 29-22, J.P. Howell 13-7, Joel Peralta 10-7, Adam Russell 4-3, Kyle Farnsworth 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Niemann 5-2, Cesar Ramos 1-2, J.P. Howell 3-0, Adam Russell 2-0, Kyle Farnsworth 1-1
Batters Faced - Jeff Niemann 16, Cesar Ramos 5, Juan Cruz 6, J.P. Howell 4, Joel Peralta 2, Adam Russell 3, Kyle Farnsworth 3
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Michael Bourn, CF5111000 .282
Jeff Keppinger, 2B3332000 .336
    Mark Melancon, P0000000 .000
    Sergio Escalona, P0000000 .000
   a- Jason Michaels, PH1000000 .203
Hunter Pence, RF5110021 .315
Carlos Lee, LF-1B4023000 .268
Chris Johnson, 3B4110002 .244
Brett Wallace, 1B3110011 .293
    Wilton Lopez, P0000000 .000
    Matt Downs, 2B1112000 .280
Clint Barmes, SS4121011 .218
Carlos Corporan, C3110001 .122
J.A. Happ, P1000011 .292
    Jason Bourgeois, LF2010001 .364
Totals361014905  
a-popped out for Escalona in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jeff Keppinger (6, Niemann), Hunter Pence (22, Niemann), Carlos Lee (20, Niemann), Chris Johnson (18, Peralta), Brett Wallace (19, Niemann), Clint Barmes (11, Niemann), Carlos Corporan (1, Ramos)
3B - Carlos Lee (3, Niemann)
HR - Jeff Keppinger (2, Howell), Matt Downs (6, Peralta)
SF - Jeff Keppinger (1)
SH - Carlos Corporan (1), J.A. Happ (3)
RBI - Michael Bourn (26), Jeff Keppinger 2 (13), Carlos Lee 3 (41), Matt Downs 2 (21), Clint Barmes (12)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Lee (17)
SB - Michael Bourn (33, 3rd base off Ramos/Shoppach)
CS - Jason Bourgeois (4, 2nd base by Cruz/Shoppach)
Team LOB - 2
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
J.A. Happ 5955381 5.54
Wilton Lopez (BS,3; L,1-4) 2.1444021 3.18
Mark Melancon (BS,3) 1.1655121 3.11
Sergio Escalona 0.1000010 2.08
WP - Wilton Lopez (1), Mark Melancon (1)
Pitches-Strikes - J.A. Happ 111-64, Wilton Lopez 47-28, Mark Melancon 38-24, Sergio Escalona 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J.A. Happ 1-6, Wilton Lopez 2-3, Mark Melancon 2-0
Batters Faced - J.A. Happ 27, Wilton Lopez 11, Mark Melancon 11, Sergio Escalona 1
Game Information
Attendance - 23965
Game Time - 3:50
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Tony Randazzo, First Base - Larry Vanover, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Jim Wolf