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Rays top Rangers, force decisive Game 5
Tampa Bay has already gone from losing at least two in a row to winning at least three straight seven times this season, The Rays even pulled off that trick as part of a pivotal series against the Yankees just a few weeks ago.
Longoria’s injury is obviously still bothering him when he runs the bases and on some plays at third base.
“He is under strict managerial orders to not run hard, although he can’t anyway,” Maddon said. “The ball’s in the gap — listen, the walking double, I’ll take it every time. … And, of course, the home run over the wall is a nice play.”
Longoria got to jog around the bases after his first homer this postseason. He set a major league rookie record with six two years ago when the Rays won the AL pennant and went to the World Series.
Pena put Tampa Bay ahead to stay after he tripled off the base of the wall in left-center in the second. He scored when Matt Joyce hit a high popup in shallow right that dropped near backpedaling second baseman Ian Kinsler for an error.
Pena’s .196 batting average in the regular season was the lowest among major league qualifiers, and his future in Tampa Bay is uncertain because he is a potential free agent. For now, Pena is hitting and making sure he and the Rays keep playing.
“I think all of us appreciate where we’re at,” Pena said. “It was extremely important for this team to turn the page.”
In the final two innings of Game 3, Pena had an RBI single and a home run as the Rays wiped out a 2-1 deficit on way to a 6-3 victory.
Add in his first two at-bats Sunday and Pena hit for the cycle over a span of four at-bats.
Hunter struck out seven but allowed four extra-base hits in his four innings. He allowed three doubles while striking out the side in the fourth.
Rookie right-hander Wade Davis pitched into the sixth for the Rays, getting out of a base-loaded jam in the fifth when he struck out Vladimir Guerrero. Rafael Soriano worked a perfect ninth for the save.
Seconds later, Davis hopped off the mound with an emphatic fist pump and everybody in the Tampa Bay dugout responded in similar fashion.
“At that point in the game, for me, it was the game,” Davis said.
By John R. Bolton
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