for this game

Damon, Rays pull away from Cardinals

Jul 4, 2011 - 3:53 AM St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Johnny Damon continued to climb the all- time hits ladder, finishing a homer shy of the cycle and knocking in four runs Sunday to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to an 8-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the finale of a three-game series.

Damon's three hits included a three-run triple and an RBI double that he scored on because of a throwing error.

After passing Ted Williams with a 4-for-4 performance on Saturday, Damon climbed over Lave Cross and Harry Heilmann and into 69th place on the all-time hits list with 2,661.

His double snapped a tie in the fifth, and his bases-clearing triple in the eighth gave the Rays some cushion.

"How 'bout Johnny?" Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Those were some wonderful at-bats in crucial moments."

The Rays took the lead for good on RBI singles from B.J. Upton and John Jaso in the sixth inning, giving rookie righthander Jeremy Hellickson (8-7) his first win in five starts.

Tampa Bay won the last two games of the series and finished interleague play with a 12-6 record.

All-Stars Lance Berkman and Yadier Molina homered for the Cardinals, who have lost two straight on the heels of a four-game winning streak. They finished 8-7 against the AL this season.

Molina homered in the second inning, but Tampa tied the game in the third when John Jaso doubled off Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse (8-5) and scored on Elliot Johnson's ground out.

"It wasn't the sharpest I've been," Lohse said. "This team seemed like they had a pretty good approach, kind of waited out my changeup and jumped on some fastballs that I left up -- overall, wasn't very good."

Damon's double to right field in the fifth scored Johnson from first base. Damon moved to third on the relay throw, then scored with a slide when it skipped past the catcher Molina.

Berkman hit a two-run homer in the sixth, his 22nd of the season, to tie the game at 3-3. But the Rays rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead for good and chase Lohse from the game.

Matt Joyce and Upton hit back-to-back doubles to start the inning, scoring the first run. Lohse was pulled after getting an out and Jaso later hit a two-out double off Jason Motte to score Upton.

Damon tripled to the right-center field wall off Brian Tallet, scoring Jaso, Sean Rodriguez and Johnson.

Hellickson allowed three runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings and Kyle Farnsworth threw the last 1 2/3 for his 17th save.

Lohse gave up five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits in 5 1/3 frames and fell to 1-3 in his last six starts.

Game Notes

The teams placed six players on the NL and AL All-Star teams, which were announced Sunday. Joining Berkman (starter) and Molina (reserve) on the NL team was reserve Matt Holliday. Joyce (reserve) and pitchers David Price and James Shields made it for Tampa. The Rays could have another player on the team if second baseman Ben Zobrist wins the fan vote for the final AL spot.








  • ST. LOUIS: 3
    TAMPA BAY: 8
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    Jul 3 4:27 PM


  • Johnny Damon triple to center scored John Jaso, Sean Rodriguez and Elliot Johnson. Runner on third with one out and Ben Zobrist due up.

    Cardinals 3, Rays 8  Bot 8, 1 OutJul 3 4:17 PM


  • John Jaso double to right scored B.J. Upton. Runner on second with two out and Sean Rodriguez due up.

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  • B.J. Upton double to center scored Matt Joyce. Runner on second with none out and Casey Kotchman due up.

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  • David Freese grounded out third to first. None on with two out and Colby Rasmus due up.

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  • Johnny Damon double to right scored Elliot Johnson, advances to home on Skip Schumaker's throwing error. None on with two out and Ben Zobrist due up.

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    Cardinals 1, Rays 1  Top 4, 1 OutJul 3 2:31 PM


  • Elliot Johnson ground out second to first scored John Jaso. None on with two out and Johnny Damon due up.

    Cardinals 1, Rays 1  Bot 3, 2 OutsJul 3 2:27 PM


  • Yadier Molina two-out, solo Home Run (5) to left center. Mark Hamilton due up.

    Cardinals 1, Rays 0  Top 2, 2 OutsJul 3 2:00 PM


  • ST. LOUIS: 0
    TAMPA BAY: 0
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    Cardinals vs. RaysJul 3 7:28 AM