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Backups help Rays romp past Mariners

SEATTLE — No Carl Crawford? No Evan Longoria? No Dioner Navarro? No Jason Bartlett?

No problem for the Rays.

Not Sunday, anyway, as two usual backups stepped up in a big way in the 11-3 win as the Rays again played like they didn't know what, or who, they were missing.

Third baseman Willy Aybar had the first two-homer game of his major-league career with a three-run shot in the second and a solo blast in the seventh. And catcher Shawn Riggans had a three-run shot in the fifth, continuing his impressive production in a limited role (five homers and 20 RBIs in 95 at-bats).

"You can't really look at what we don't have, you have to look at what we do have," Riggans said. "And the guys that we have can all produce.

"We're going to take bumps and bruises along the way but I'm sure that we're going to get these guys back at some point, whether it's tomorrow or a month down the road. But everybody still has to go out there, and we still have to play hard, and usually that will work out."

Aybar, with bullpen coach Bobby Ramos translating, said much the same:

"They're great players and we miss them on the team, but whenever I get in the lineup and the other guys, we try to pick up the slack, and that's exactly what happened today."

The reason the backups have played so well now, manager Joe Maddon said, is that they have the chance to play regularly.

"They've been participating all year, and when they get out there they feel comfortable about it, they feel like they belong, they feel like they're part of something special," Maddon said. "And I think that brings out the best in all of our guys."

Backups help Rays romp past Mariners 08/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 11, 2008 3:05pm]
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