Astros
Rays
3 - 4 Final
  for this game

Gross lifts Rays over Astros

Jun 22, 2008 - 2:28 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- The Tampa Bay Rays' improbable season continued to roll on Saturday night. This time, pinch hitter Gabe Gross provided the heroics.

Gross' two-run double in the bottom of the ninth gave the Rays a 4-3 walk-off victory against the Houston Astros.

The Rays, who are 26-5 in their last 31 home games, avoided their first consecutive home losses since April 15-18.

The Astros, who ended an eight-game losing streak Friday, were three outs away from their second consecutive one-run win at Tampa Bay. However, Doug Brocail, who was used instead of closer Jose Valverde, failed to record an out in the ninth.

It was the Rays' 20th come-from-behind victory, but first this season when trailing after eight innings.

"Confidence," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said about what fueled the rally. "If we keep it close, we feel we can do something late. This is another growth moment for us."

With Tampa Bay trailing, 3-2, Brocail (2-3) allowed leadoff singles to Cliff Floyd and pinch hitter Eric Hinske. He then hit pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro with an 0-2 pitch to load the bases.

Gross hit Brocail's first pitch, and it landed just inside the left-field line, scoring Floyd and Hinske.

"I didn't take a very good swing, but got lucky," Gross said. "I guess it's better to be lucky than good. It barely hit fair. I knew it was going to be close."

The Rays (44-30) pulled within one-half game of the Boston Red Sox (46-31) for the American League East lead.

"We want to keep gaining ground," Maddon said."

Houston manager Cecil Cooper defended using Brocail.

"He's our eighth-inning guy, he's a veteran, he knows how to go out and get it done," Cooper said. "Just tonight it didn't happen."

Brocail took responsibility for his first blown save of the season.

"I've been in that jam before and I didn't get out of this one," he said. "I stunk up the place."

Tied at 2-2 in the eighth, Lance Berkman struck out on a pitch in the dirt from J.P. Howell but advanced to second on catcher Shawn Riggans' throwing error to first.

After Carlos Lee was intentionally walked, Berkman stole third and then scored on Geoff Blum's fielder's choice to third.

Wandy Rodriguez, who retired the first 10 batters he faced, went 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and two runs. He walked two and struck out six.

Edwin Jackson allowed five hits and two runs in 6 1/3 innings while striking out three and walking three.

"Edwin was very good," Maddon said. "When he gets ahead in the count, he can be devastating. When he gets behind, he's like everyone else."

Trailing, 2-1, in the seventh, the Astros loaded the bases with one out. Pinch hitter Mark Loretta drew a walk to pull the Astros even at 2-2.

Howell replaced Jackson and struck out Michael Bourn and retired Kazuo Matsui on a fly ball to keep the game tied.

Both teams scored a run each in the fourth. After Lee homered in the top of the inning, Carl Crawford answered with an RBI triple.

In the fifth, Justin Ruggiano's first career home run gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead.

"We got a win, so I'm always pleased," Jackson said. "J.P. came in and got us out of it. To me, that's what won the game, outside of the big hit by Gross. We're feeding off all those positive vibes right now."

Lee and Blum each had two hits for the Astros, who have not won consecutive games since winning four in a row from May 9-12.

"It was one of those nights," Cooper said. "It's kind of unfortunate. Things kind of seem to be going against us."








  • ML
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 3 5 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 4 9 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: HOU - WANDY RODRIGUEZ, GEOFF GEARY (6TH), DOUG BROCAIL (9TH) AND
    HUMBERTO QUINTERO, BRAD AUSMUS (7TH)
    TAM - EDWIN JACKSON, J.P. HOWELL (7TH), DAN WHEELER
    (9TH) AND

    Jun 21 8:56 PM


  • ML
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY GABE GROSS SCORED CLIFF FLOYD AND ERIC HINSKE.
    FINAL SCORE: TAMPA BAY 4, HOUSTON 3

    Astros 3, Rays 4  Bot 9, 0 OutsJun 21 8:56 PM


  • ML
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY GEOFF BLUM SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G BLUM ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 3
    TAMPA BAY 2 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.275, 0-FOR-3)

    Astros 3, Rays 2  Top 8, 0 OutsJun 21 8:24 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Astros 3, Rays 2  Top 8, 0 OutsJun 21 8:24 PM
  • 112
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    bigbelly Added 5 roots

    Astros 2, Rays 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsJun 21 8:04 PM
  • 107
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    RUWTbot Added 72 roots (Close Finish)

    Astros 2, Rays 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsJun 21 8:00 PM


  • ML
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO MARK LORETTA SCORED CARLOS LEE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M LORETTA ON FIRST, D ERSTAD ON SECOND, G
    BLUM ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 2
    TAMPA BAY 2 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M BOURN (.239, 0-FOR-3)

    Astros 2, Rays 2  Top 7, 0 OutsJun 21 7:53 PM
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    Astros 2, Rays 2  Top 7, 0 OutsJun 21 7:53 PM


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    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JUSTIN RUGGIANO (1) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF WANDY RODRIGUEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 1, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: S RIGGANS (.246, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros 1, Rays 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 21 7:18 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots

    Astros 1, Rays 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 21 7:18 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 35 roots

    Astros 1, Rays 1  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 21 7:11 PM


  • ML
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY CARL CRAWFORD SCORED WILLY AYBAR.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C CRAWFORD ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 1
    TAMPA BAY 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B UPTON (.291, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros 1, Rays 1  Bot 4, 0 OutsJun 21 7:03 PM


  • ML
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CARLOS LEE (16) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    4TH OFF EDWIN JACKSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 1, TAMPA BAY 0
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: G BLUM (.223, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros 1, Rays 0  Top 4, 0 OutsJun 21 6:53 PM