Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays' Upton finding power stroke again

B.J. Upton connects on a two-run homer in the seventh inning off White Sox starter John Danks. The blast carried an estimated 411 feet into the leftfield stands and was his second extra-base hit of the series, after a triple on Friday.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

B.J. Upton connects on a two-run homer in the seventh inning off White Sox starter John Danks. The blast carried an estimated 411 feet into the leftfield stands and was his second extra-base hit of the series, after a triple on Friday.

CHICAGO — CF B.J. Upton still isn't hitting the ball as often as he would like, going just 3-for-14, a .214 average, in the first three games of the AL Division Series.

But at least he is hitting the ball harder.

An impressive 411-foot two-run homer Sunday, after a well-struck triple in Game 2 on Friday, has Upton, who is playing with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, feeling better.

And the Rays are feeling better about what they see — and hear — from him.

"We were trying to back off in regard to his (batting practice) to get him strong again, and we've done that," manager Joe Maddon said. "He is starting to get that nice click in his bat, that nice bassy sound when he hits the ball."

Upton said the improved results are a product of feeling better and altering his approach, realizing he was "spinning off the ball" and returning to the plan of hitting the ball up the middle.

"I've made some minor adjustments, and hopefully I can continue to swing the bat the way I have been the last couple days," Upton said.

LINING UP: 1B Carlos Pena could see the difference Sunday when he retuned to the lineup after missing most of the first two games with blurriness in his left eye due to a scratched cornea. He went 2-for-5 and made several sharp plays at first base.

"I felt good," Pena said. "Actually I felt pretty normal, so I'm happy about that. I felt very comfortable and I was really happy to be back out there."

Rocco Baldelli started in right but batted eighth. Maddon said DH Willy Aybar matched up better with Sox starter John Danks, so he put him in the No. 6 spot behind Carl Crawford, but neither got a hit.

HISTORY MAKERS: Comeback wins have been a big part of the Rays' success, as they won a major-league-most 28 games after trailing by two or more runs. Now they've become the first team in major-league history to overcome deficits of two or more runs to win their first two postseason games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They also were just the second of the 14 expansion teams to win their first two postseason games, joining the 1985 Blue Jays.

HELP COMING: RHP Troy Percival threw an inning in an instructional league game Satur­day and likely will do so again today, hoping to return for a later round. "He said he felt pretty good," Maddon said.

Backup C Shawn Riggans continues to recover from right knee surgery, and the Rays say he could be ready for the next round, though he has yet to get into a full squat.

MISCELLANY: The Sox are the 12th team to win Game 3 after dropping the first two in Division Series play. … The Rays were trying to become the fifth team to sweep its first postseason series. … The Rays have never swept a series from the White Sox in 11 seasons of trying. … Since his 3-for-3 start with two homers, the Sox have held Evan Longoria to 1-for-7. … Jim Thome's fourth-inning double snapped a streak of 14 singles by the Sox. … Given the contingencies involved, the Rays planned to stay over in Chicago either way Sunday night. … The Rays are 40-42 on the road. … Bench coach Dave Martinez rejoined the team after missing Saturday's workout to attend to a family matter.

Rays' Upton finding power stroke again 10/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 6, 2008 7:45am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch

    Footballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  2. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    Four days before their preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns, which had 12 players not stand for the national anthem prior to their last game, the Bucs used their team meeting to discuss social issues that might have led to that demonstration, coach Dirk Koetter said.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]
  3. Rookie tight end Antony Auclair making case to stick with Bucs

    Bucs

    Don't let his modest preseason stats fool you: Antony Auclair, the undrafted rookie tight end from Canada is making a strong case to stick around on the Bucs' 53-man roster this season.

    Bucs tight end Antony Auclair (82) collides with a defender following a catch during training camp. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  4. Calm (Largo) and clamorous (St. Petersburg) converge Friday night

    Footballpreps

    If Largo and St. Petersburg high schools are going to be successful this football season, it will be because of defense. And if those defenses are going to be successful, it will be because of secondaries that are potentially the best in Pinellas County.

    St. Petersburg High School CB Anthony Johnson  practices with his team Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.
  5. Rays morning after: Secret to Alex Colome's success is staying cool, calm, collected

    Blogs

    The ninth inning couldn't have started much worse for Rays closer Alex Colome on Tuesday, who took over with a 6-4 lead and quickly allowed a single and a double to bring the tying run to the plate.

    Alex Colome said the key to his effectiveness is not altering anything, especially his locked-in focus on getting the final outs.