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Rays' Jackson gets rare run support in first win since April 10

Edwin Jackson labored at first, walking four of his first six batters, but got through five innings to earn the victory.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Edwin Jackson labored at first, walking four of his first six batters, but got through five innings to earn the victory.

ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Edwin Jackson entered Saturday's start riding a bit of hard luck.

The hard-throwing right-hander had failed to get a decision his past three outings despite giving up just one run in 21 innings. Carl Crawford said last week that Jackson deserved better considering how well he was pitching.

But on Saturday night, Rays hitters returned the favor to give Jackson his first win since April 10.

Jackson admitted he was uncomfortable on the mound against the Orioles, walking four of his first six batters, with 20 of his first 28 pitches being called balls. But as the Rays continued to give him half as many runs (11) as they had in his previous nine starts combined, it started to lift his spirits.

"It was one of those days where you feel bad, you look bad (and are) just trying to go out there on guts," Jackson said. "And to get that offensive support, it's definitely a good feeling."

Jackson said during his winless stretch that he tried not to worry about what was out of his control. Manager Joe Maddon commended Jackson for battling all night when he "really wasn't on top of his game."

BRING ON THE BIRDS: Apparently, a visit from Baltimore is just what the doctor ordered for Carlos Pena's slumping bat.

Pena, who went 4-for-24 on the Rays' recent six-game road trip and saw his average dip below .210, continued to feast off Orioles pitching Saturday. He ripped a single, double and triple and now has 16 of his 27 RBIs this season against the AL East foe. Four of Pena's nine homers are also against the Orioles, including two dramatic blasts off veteran reliever Jamie Walker in the teams' last series at the Trop.

Maddon said he was impressed with Pena's quality at-bats and the fact that he was hitting the ball to the gaps, something he does at his best.

After walking in the fifth, Pena's chance at the franchise's first cycle ended in the eighth, when he was lifted because Maddon wanted to get him off his feet.

TREMBLEY TIPS HAT: Count Orioles manager Dave Trembley among those not surprised at the Rays' recent surge to one of the top teams in the American League.

Trembley credited the Rays with their player development, drafting "some real good players and very good athletes," while allowing them to grow up together in the big leagues, much like the Yankees and Indians have done in the past.

"I saw some of those guys when (they were in) Durham," said Trembley, who spent 20 years as a minor-league manager before joining the Orioles in 2007. "You could tell right then that they were going to be good."

OH-SO-CLOSE: CF B.J. Upton came seemingly inches short of a two-homer night as his two doubles to right-center both bounced off the top of the wall. Upton still tied a career high with four hits, going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs while reaching base in all five plate appearances.

MISCELLANY: DH Cliff Floyd snapped an 0-for-16 slump with a broken-bat single in the fourth. … Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry threw out the ceremonial first pitch and announced the Rays' lineup in the third inning. … The Commodores performed a postgame concert for "70s Night" at the Trop.

Rays' Jackson gets rare run support in first win since April 10 05/24/08 [Last modified: Sunday, May 25, 2008 11:42am]
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