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Rays sweep Sox

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rookie third baseman Evan Longoria had three hits, including a go-ahead, two-run double in the Rays six-run, seventh-inning rally and Tampa Bay held on for a 7-6 win over the Red Sox Wednesday night in front of a sellout crowd at the Trop. (view photo gallery)

With the dramatic, come-from-behind victory, Tampa Bay (52-32) swept the three-game series against second-place Boston, moving 3.5 games ahead in the AL East.

Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka had kept the Rays bats at bay through five innings, and thanks to Dustin Pedroia (4-for-5, 2RBI), Boston held a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.

But the Rays sent 11 batters to the plate in the half inning, with Jason Bartlett started it off with a leadoff double and adding a two-run single later in the frame. Before that, Longoria ripped a bases-loaded, two-run double off reliever Craig Hansen, which put the Rays up for good at 5-4.

Rays starter Scott Kazmir lasted just five innings, giving up four runs. Though the Rays took a 7-4 lead, the Red Sox added one in the eighth and made things interesting with a ninth-inning rally of their own.

With closer Troy Percival on the disabled list, Dan Wheeler was called upon to try to seal the deal. Manny Ramirez led off by reaching on an error by Jason Bartlett, and moved to third on a single by Mike Lowell.
But when Kevin Youkilis crushed a ball to deep center, B.J. Upton made a potential game-saving, over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track, holding the Red Sox to a sacrifice fly (which made it 7-6).

-- JOE SMITH

joesmith@sptimes.com

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:36am]

    

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