for this game

Kazmir, Rays shut down White Sox

Jun 1, 2008 - 3:10 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- It didn't take long for the Tampa Bay Rays to find out what life would be like without closer Troy Percival.

Scott Kazmir pitched seven shutout innings and Cliff Floyd homered for the second consecutive night as the Rays defeated the Chicago White Sox, 2-0, on Saturday.

Kazmir allowed only three hits in winning his fifth consecutive start, but without Percival - who went on the 15-day disabled list Thursday - the Rays needed five relievers to get through the final two innings.

"I feel like I can get better," Kazmir said. "We'll take it. It felt like at times I was falling off the mound a little bit, but it was working. I'm getting more and more comfortable each game."

The victory kept the Rays (34-22) in first place in the American League East for a franchise-record seventh consecutive day. The Rays also own the AL's best record.

After an eight-game winning streak was snapped May 23, the White Sox are 4-5 in their last nine but remain atop the AL Central.

"Kazmir's been throwing real well, it's just nothing new," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Every time we face the kid he's thrown the ball real good. We continue to struggle at the plate. He outpitched us."

After Kazmir left and with closer Troy Percival on the disabled list, the Rays needed five relievers to get through the final two innings.

After Kazmir left, Al Reyes and J.P. Howell pitched the eighth. Dan Wheeler recorded one out in the ninth before walking Paul Konerko and allowing a single to Joe Crede.

Trever Miller relieved Wheeler and got pinch hitter A.J. Pierzynski on a fly out to right. Grant Balfour, called up Friday from Class AAA Durham, retired Brian Anderson for his first save.

"The Rays are in first place," Balfour said. "I just want to be a part of a winning team. There's a great vibe in the clubhouse."

The White Sox stranded two runners each in the eighth and ninth innings.

"You don't see too many ninth innings where every batter they're changing guys, but it worked," Kazmir said.

Kazmir (5-1) struck out six and walked three as the Rays won for the 17th time in their last 23 games. In Kazmir's last five starts, spanning 33 innings, he has allowed only two earned runs.

"He gets so many foul balls on tough pitches and that what gets his pitch count up," Rays catcher Dioner Navarro said. "He just kept battling and battling."

Floyd, who had a walk-off home run in the ninth in Friday's 2-1 win, hit a solo home run in the fourth, giving Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead.

"Cliff again, an 0-2 homer," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Another big at-bat for us and he's going to do that often for us this year."

B.J. Upton's third-inning groundout in the third accounted for the Rays' first run.

Javier Vazquez (5-4) lost for the first time in five starts. He allowed five hits in seven innings, striking out a season-high 10 and walking two.

"I was a little (ticked) off at myself when I gave up the home run to Cliff," Vazquez said. "But other than that I kept the team in the game."

The White Sox runners had just two runners reach scoring position in seven innings against Kazmir - Alexei Ramirez on a one-out double in the first and Crede on a walk and wild pitch in the second.

With one out in the eighth, Orlando Cabrera was walked by Reyes. He stole second and third, but was stranded after Howell struck out Jim Thome and Carlos Quentin.

"The Rays are pitching well and playing good defense," Guillen said. "We hit the ball hard, maybe nine times, and they were in the right position to make nice plays. They will outpitch you and outrun you. I don't think this is a fluke."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHI WHITE SOX 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 x 2 5 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CHA - JAVIER VAZQUEZ, BOONE LOGAN (8TH) AND TOBY HALL
    TAM - SCOTT KAZMIR, AL REYES (8TH), J.P. HOWELL (8TH),
    DAN WHEELER (9TH), TREVER MILLER (9TH), GRANT BALFOUR (

    May 31 8:57 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CLIFF FLOYD (5) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    4TH OFF JAVIER VAZQUEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 0, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: D NAVARRO (.358, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox 0, Rays 2  Bot 4, 0 OutsMay 31 7:29 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY B.J. UPTON SCORED AKINORI IWAMURA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C CRAWFORD ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 0
    TAMPA BAY 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.218, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox 0, Rays 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsMay 31 7:12 PM
  • 5
    roots
    FosterGrant Added 5 roots

    White Sox vs. RaysMay 31 11:06 AM