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Tampa Bay Rays' Pat Burrell gets key run with baserunning gamble

baby’s almost here: Ryane Shields, pregnant wife of Rays starter James Shields, stands with her mother, Lynn Barber, and her grandmother Jeanie Williams in the hallway at Tropicana Field.

DIRK SHADD | Times

baby’s almost here: Ryane Shields, pregnant wife of Rays starter James Shields, stands with her mother, Lynn Barber, and her grandmother Jeanie Williams in the hallway at Tropicana Field.

ST. PETERSBURG — DH Pat Burrell might not be as fleet a foot as many of his other Rays teammates.

But it was a baserunning gamble Burrell took in the fifth inning Tuesday that led to the Rays' first run in their 4-3 walkoff win over the Orioles.

With two outs in the fifth, Burrell ran through a stop sign by third-base coach Tom Foley to score from second on Jason Bartlett's single. Burrell slid in safely after LF Felix Pie's throw bounced away from C Matt Wieters, pulling the Rays to within 2-1.

One thing manager Joe Maddon emphasized in the spring was improving the ability to score from second on a single, something he said the Rays weren't that good at a year ago.

And while Dioner Navarro got thrown out at the plate in the third trying to score from second on a Ben Zobrist single, Burrell's hustle later in the game paid off.

"I thought (Foley) was right by stopping him, but (Burrell) really came down there," Maddon said. "He came as fast as he could down the first-base line. He really just wanted to score, a great play on his part.

"Of course, if you're out, it's a different story, but he was not out, he was safe."

closed out: Though RH closer Rafael Soriano picked up the win in his Rays debut, the fact he threw 26 pitches has Maddon unsure if he'd be available tonight.

Maddon said Soriano might be able to go back-to-back, but if he does, "it'll be a shorter stint."

"This early in the season, two days in a row, all that kind of stuff," Maddon said. "I'm sure he's going to tell me he's fine (today), but I'll check."

strong shields: RHP James Shields, who set a club record by making his third opening-day start, said he felt good in his first outing, in which he gave up just three runs (all solo homers) over six innings.

"I just made a couple of bad pitches," he said. "My job is to keep our team in as long as I can."

Shields picked up his 71st quality start, tying Scott Kazmir for the most in club history.

Garza in gear: RHP Matt Garza, who makes his first start tonight, is excited to get it going considering how well he felt — and pitched — during the spring.

He entered camp in the best shape of his career and during which he executed his primary goal, cutting down his walks. He finished with a 2.28 earned-run average (including six walks in 272/3 innings) and doesn't plan to stray far from what got him that success.

TV TIME: Bright House Networks announced it will carry 38 games in Spanish. The games will be shown on Bay News 9 En Espanol (Channels 154 and 900 on Bright House Networks). Raul Striker Jr. will do play-by-play, and Orestes Destrade is the analyst.

MISCELLANY: Cuban 1B/OF Leslie Anderson's arrival has been delayed due to bureaucratic issues, and he's still in Mexico. … Maddon said C Kelly Shoppach will start today against RHP Jeremy Guthrie.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com

Tampa Bay Rays' Pat Burrell gets key run with baserunning gamble 04/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 3:46pm]
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