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Rays do it again, on walk-off pinch-hit homer by Loney



 The Rays pulled out another stunning win in Monday's home finale as pinch-hitter James Loney homered to lead off the ninth to give them a 5-4 walkoff win over the Orioles.
   It was the team's franchise-record tying 13th walkoff win of the season. It was the Rays first pinch-hit homer of the season.
  The win kept the Rays atop the American League wild-card race as they headed to New York, and then Toronto, for the final six games of the regular season. The Rays are one game ahead of the Indians, who were idle Monday, and 2 1/2 ahead of the Rangers, who play later tonight.
   The Rays were down 4-2 going to the seventh but rallied to tie on odd play. They had the bases loaded after a Jose Lobaton walk, a Ben Zobrist single and an Evan Longoria walk. That was not necessarily a good thing, as they were hitless in their last 18 at-bats with the bases loaded, and 2-for-their-last-27. Wil Myers blooped a ball into shallow right that 2B Alexi Casilla tracked and caught momentarily, but lost control of as he collided with oncoming RF Nick Markakis, resulting in a two-run single.
    Zobrist, making his second start of the season in leftfield, helped them keep it tied, throwing out his second runner of the afternoon as Matt Wieters tried to stretch a leadoff double in the eighth into a triple. Zobrist threw out Casilla at the plate to end the seventh.
   The last home game of the regular season drew a crowd of 17,830, giving the Rays a season total of 1,510,300, their lowest total since 2007.
   The Orioles lost star third baseman Manny Machado to a gruesome looking left leg injury when he stepped oddly on first base in the seventh.
   Chris Archer got off to a great start, allowing only a walk in the first three innings, hitting 97 mph on the Tropicana Field gun. But his afternoon changed abruptly in the fourth.
   It started innocently enough, with a line single into short left by Manny Machado. But two pitches later it became a big deal as Chris Davis hit his major-league leading 52nd homer to put the Orioles up 2-1. The inning continued with a strikeout, a single, a popout and a walk to Nate McLouth after Archer and catcher Jose Molina thought they had strike three. J.J. Hardy made it sting worse when he singled to left, scoring Markakis.
  The Orioles expanded their lead, and expedited Archer's departure, when Brian Roberts hit the second pitch of the fifth over the rightfield fence. Archer ended up working 4 1/3, allowing four runs on five hits, walking two, striking out seven.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 11:18am]


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