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Eventful day for Rays' Bartlett leads to two runs

ST. PETERSBURG — Call it the Jason Bartlett hat trick: hard to replicate and maybe not completely desirable.

Score from first on a botched pickoff attempt, steal a base, get hit in the head with a fastball.

The shortstop's interesting day began in the third Sunday when he singled off Josh Beckett with one out and scored when Beckett's attempted pickoff throw eluded 1B Kevin Youkilis and bounded to the Rays' bullpen mounds, where RF J.D. Drew retrieved it and heaved something resembling a throw in the general direction of home. Bartlett was stopped at third by coach Tom Foley but decided to tear home after almost coming to a stop.

"I hustle, that's what I do, and I saw that the throw went to no one," he said of Drew's error. "I just read it. I thought I was going all the way but (Foley) held me up. You're taught to find the ball once you get to the bag and I saw that it was overthrown, so I went home."

Bartlett was grazed in the helmet by reliever Manny Delcarmen in the eighth, stole second and scored the final run on a Carl Crawford double.

"Turned my head the very last second and it glanced off me, thank God," he said.

BUSINESS-LIKE: James Shields' 98-pitch two-hitter, like the efforts of Edwin Jackson and Matt Garza it followed, was underpinned by quick work and strikes. A direct offshoot of that was several outstanding defensive plays, notably by OFs Crawford and B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria at third and Bartlett. Not a coincidence, 1B Carlos Pena said.

"They've been attacking the strike zone, throwing strikes, pitching to contact, which keeps the defense awake," he said. "That's why on defense we'll make plays for them, because they're always aggressive and keeping us busy. It's a pleasure to watch really."

BETTER LATE … : Utility INF Andy Cannizaro, recalled from Triple-A Durham to replace the optioned Elliot Johnson, arrived minutes before game time because of flight delays from Charlotte. The 29-year-old will back up all four infield positions but could see more time at shortstop because Bartlett has played with an achy arm and Ben Zobrist remains on the disabled list. Manager Joe Maddon said Cannizaro could also give 2B Akinori Iwamura time off.

"Certainly I feel comfortable (at shortstop)," said Cannizaro, who missed time in spring training because of a back injury. "If I can spell Jason for a day or two or whatever he needs and try to help this club win while I'm here. … I want to win."

NEARLY THERE: Scott Kazmir, the 2007 AL strikeout leader disabled since spring training with an elbow strain, will pitch "five/six innings" or "85 pitches max," in his third and final start for Durham today, Maddon said. The left-hander will join the Rays in Baltimore and the rotation this weekend barring setbacks.

ETC: 1B Dan Johnson, who was outrighted to Durham on Friday, went 1-for-4 with a home run Saturday night. … Reliever Al Reyes, rehabbing from a right shoulder impingement, will make a second rehab appearance tonight for Class A Vero. Maddon said Reyes "did fine," reaching 85 mph, in his Saturday outing. He can come off the 15-day disabled list Thursday. … DH Cliff Floyd, on the 15-day disabled list after arthroscopic knee surgery, could rejoin the lineup this week. … Red Sox 1B Kevin Youkilis broke Snuffy McInnis' record for consecutive errorless chances on Saturday with his 1,701th. His last error, a record 205 games ago, occurred at Tampa Bay on July 4, 2006.

Eventful day for Rays' Bartlett leads to two runs 04/27/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 28, 2008 1:57pm]
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