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Rays' Kazmir struggles in first inning again

ST. PETERSBURG — The last thing Rays starter Scott Kazmir wanted Saturday was a repeat of his 37-pitch first inning in his postseason debut against the White Sox in Game 2 of the AL Division Series.

As it turned out, he went one better.

Actually, one worse, needing 38 pitches to get his first three outs.

Kazmir held the Sox to two runs and actually zipped through the second inning in just 13 pitches. But it was obvious, when he gave up the first of two leadoff homers to Dustin Pedroia in the third, that he wouldn't be around long.

Kazmir lasted only into the fifth, giving up a leadoff homer to Pedroia, then a one-out blast to Kevin Youkilis that tied the score at 5. He threw 98 pitches to get 13 outs, allowing six hits and three walks while striking out just two.

In his two postseason starts, he has a 6.52 ERA and has allowed 14 hits and five walks in 92/3 innings.

THE 3-AND-O SHOW: It was not that unusual for manager Joe Maddon to turn Evan Lon­goria and Carlos Pena loose on 3-and-0 pitches in Friday's game.

In his three seasons, Maddon's hitters have swung and put the ball in play 27 times on 3-and-0 counts, fourth-most in the AL over that period, and have 11 hits (including three homers) for a .407 average. This season, in 150 plate appearances with a 3-and-0 count, they were 3-for-11.

Pena has homered twice on 3-and-0 counts during his two seasons with the Rays, in August 2007 against Oakland's Dan Haren and this May against Baltimore's Daniel Cabrera.

In his two years with the Rays, Pena has had 42 3-and-0 counts and is 3-for-5.

ON THE ROAD: Figuring they have a long week ahead of them, the Rays will wait until today to fly to Boston, leaving around noon, checking into their hotel then heading to Fenway Park for a 6:30 p.m. workout.

"Had we had an earlier workout slot, we would have flown out (Saturday) night," Maddon said. "It gives you one more night in your own bed. We have the potential to be there for almost a week it seems, so I just thought it would make it easier on everyone actually."

Temperatures are expected in the high 50s tonight, which will be a good, um, warmup for the Rays since it is likely to be in the low 50s for Tuesday's night's game.

"We'll see how cold," Maddon said. "It could be really cold. That's not good."

PERCY SPLITS: RHP Troy Percival, after not being added to the ALCS roster, went home to California rather than stay with the team throughout the series.

"He wanted to go see his family," Maddon said. "He's going to continue to throw and if anything were to pop up and we needed him, he's able to get back here on a moment's notice."

PRICE WAS UP: Rookie LHP David Price had no problems warming up for his one-batter appearance Friday and said he felt fine to pitch again Saturday. Maddon liked what he did, too. "I like that he came out and threw better strikes, quality strikes down," Maddon said.

SOUND CHECK: Pena said Friday night's crowd was the loudest he had ever heard at the Trop. "It was crazy," Pena said. "Just nuts."

MISCELLANY: Maddon said he was leaning toward starting Rocco Baldelli in rightfield Monday against lefty Jon Lester, with Willy Aybar as the DH. … After an 0-for-5 start in the opener, CF B.J. Upton has hit in the next five games, and had four homers in his first 24 at-bats. … Four players not on the active roster will travel with the team to Boston: OF Jonny Gomes, RHP Jason Hammel, OF Eric Hinske and C John Jaso. … RHP Andy Sonnanstine threw an extensive bullpen session Saturday afternoon in prep for his Game 4 start, so he was not available in relief.

Rays' Kazmir struggles in first inning again 10/11/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 13, 2008 1:58pm]

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