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Rays survive trying day, beat A's in 12 innings

Carlos Pena, who homered in the 12th, celebrates with Akinori Iwamura, center, and Jason Bartlett.

Associated Press

Carlos Pena, who homered in the 12th, celebrates with Akinori Iwamura, center, and Jason Bartlett.

OAKLAND, Calif. — So much was going on in Thursday's 12-inning 7-6 win over the A's.

The Rays battling back twice to tie, taking one lead, blowing it, then taking another and hanging on. There was Carlos Pena blasting another homer to top a list of big hits, Jason Hammel pitching 2 2/3 key innings for the win, Cliff Floyd running around the bases all afternoon, Rocco Baldelli diving after balls in the outfield.

There was Troy Percival coming off the field with a right knee sprain that likely will land him on the disabled list, Jason Bartlett coming back and a team-record-tying eight pitchers coming in.

And, 4½ hours later, there were the Rays (73-47, and still three games ahead of Boston in the AL East) talking about how such another remarkable win leaves them feeling, despite all the reasons not to, that they're still going places.

"It's been happening the whole season, and this type of win is what was happening in May, June when we started winning a lot of games late, we got our confidence up," Floyd said. "We believe that as long as we're on the field we've got a chance to win a ball game, whether we've got to come back or something happens in the game. …

"I just think it's us believing in ourselves, no matter who we've got on the field, and going out there and doing it. … That's what we have to feed off of — no matter who, no matter what situation, we believe they'll get it done."

Even manager Joe Maddon couldn't keep up with it all, missing Bartlett's error on his first play back at shortstop because he had to go to the bathroom. But he couldn't have been more impressed by what he saw.

"I am so proud of the way our guys played today. Kept fighting, kept coming back, all the different things that occurred today, truly what I'm looking for," Maddon said.

"I can't ask for anything more out of the position players, the pitchers, whomever. It's exactly what we're looking for here. Beyond everything else, it's the continuous maximum effort. It was tremendous. I loved it. Absolutely loved it."

The Rays tied the score 4-4 in the fifth, and it stayed that way until the ninth, when B.J. Upton's double ruined rookie reliever Brad Ziegler's career-starting scoreless streak at 39 innings. But Percival got hurt and Grant Balfour ended up giving up the tying run.

It took until the 12th, but they were at it again, with what Maddon called two equally big moments.

First, it was Pena, continuing his second-half sizzle by putting the Rays back ahead with a leadoff homer, his eighth in 19 games and 23rd overall. The Rays added a second run when Floyd doubled and scored on Dioner Navarro's single.

Then, when the A's had first and third and no outs after an error, a single and a wild pitch, Hammel stayed composed and got Kurt Suzuki to hit into a double play. A run scored, but Trever Miller came on to get the last out.

"It's a great win for us, because it was actually quite difficult," Pena said. "I'm very proud of this team for staying in the present, not allowing the things that didn't go our way to affect us."

Sometimes, that's the only way.

Rays survive trying day, beat A's in 12 innings 08/14/08 [Last modified: Saturday, August 16, 2008 2:46pm]
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