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Drama finds a new home

If you go to a Devil Rays game at Tropicana Field, here's a piece of advice: don't cut out early. Do yourself a favor and hang around until the last pitch. Otherwise, you never know what you're going to miss.

The Rays are on pace for their worst season, but they do have a flair for the dramatic.

No team has played more games decided by two runs or less. And, lately, the Rays have figured out a way to win such games.

On Friday, for the third time in four games, the Rays pulled out a walkoff victory. Carl Crawford, who hadn't homered since his three-run homer for a walkoff victory on opening day, struck again.

He blasted a three-run homer with one out in the ninth to give the Rays a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox before 9,493 at Tropicana Field.

"We never give up," Rays first baseman Travis Lee said. "Under the big top, here, anything can happen."

After losing 30 games by two runs or less, the Rays have figured out a way to reverse that trend in the past few days.

"We needed to," Crawford said. "We got enough one-run losses to last for a long time. We need to start getting some one-run wins. We need to get any kind of wins."

Friday's win went down like this: the Rays fell behind 2-0 in the second when the White Sox scratched out two unearned runs off Victor Zambrano, who pitched well again.

Zambrano, who had won three straight decisions, threw a career-high 121 pitches, but allowed just four hits and no earned runs over eight innings.

He was helped along the way by Lee, who made perhaps the Rays' defensive play of the season when he raced all the way into the Rays bullpen to snag a foul ball off the bat of Frank Thomas.

"Lee made as fine of a play at first base down that rightfield line that I've ever seen in baseball," Rays manager Lou Piniella said.

Lee said he knew he had a shot at it as soon as it left the bat.

"That's why I ran after it," Lee said. "I looked up and I happened to see it right away. I thought, "Oh, there it is,' I put my glove out and I was like, "Yeah!' It was cool."

And inspiring.

"That's hustling, good baseball," Piniella said. "That's the kind of baseball these kids are playing. These last couple have gone our way. A few of them before were going against us."

It appeared as if another was going to go against the Rays. Julio Lugo cut Chicago's lead in half with a seventh-inning homer, but the White Sox got the run back on Brian Daubach's ninth-inning homer.

But the Rays rallied. With one out, Javier Valentin drew a walk off White Sox closer Billy Koch.

Al Martin, who had been 0-for-16 as a pinch-hitter, delivered a pinch-hit single to right.

Then Crawford hit his second dramatic homer of the season into the rightfield stands on a 0-and-1 pitch.

He raced around the bases and was mobbed at home by his teammates, who aren't acting like a team hopelessly out of the pennant race.

"This is like another one of our one-run games," Lee said. "I think we deserved to win them all. We're close and teams know when you're going to play us, we're not going to get blown out. We're going to compete and we're going to put some hits on the board and, hopefully, some runs.

"The attitude here is we never give up."

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