for this game

Iwamura helps Rays inch closer to ALCS

Oct 4, 2008 - 3:13 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- The Tampa Bay Rays are not content with just reaching the postseason. They are in it to win it.

Akinori Iwamura hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the fifth inning and the Rays rolled to a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox in Game Two of the American League Division Series on Friday.

Dioner Navarro drove in a pair of runs for the Rays, who padded their lead with a three-run eighth and grabbed a commanding two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-five series.

"They weren't the best team in the major leagues for no reason," said White Sox lefthander Mark Buehrle (0-1), who was charged with five runs and 10 hits in seven-plus innings. They've got good pitching. They kind of remind me like in '05 with us. We had a lot of chances. I made a bad pitch to Iwamura and they took the lead."

Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli each added an RBI for Tampa Bay, which was without first baseman Carlos Pena due to blurred vision. Pena, the Rays' leader in home runs and RBI during the regular season, has played just two innings this postseason.

Pena's absence did not matter, thanks in part to Iwamura.

"(Iwamura) means a lot to the team," Crawford said. "He's been playing great defense at second and getting timely hits. Tonight, he got a real big one for us. That's probably the biggest hit in our history."

Now, Tampa Bay is the verge of adding another chapter to its historic season. It got a gritty effort from ace Scott Kazmir and a strong performance by the bullpen along the way.

The Rays can advance to the American League Championship Series with a win in Chicago on Sunday.

Jim Thome and Alexei Ramirez drove in a run apiece for the White Sox, who were held scoreless over the final eight innings. Chicago left 12 runners on base.

"We just couldn't come up with the big hit," said Chicago's Jermaine Dye, who had three hits. "We had lots of guys out there and we left them stranded."

The Rays trailed, 2-1, before Iwamura's two-run shot to left field in the fifth sent the crowd into a frenzy. Jason Bartlett singled and Iwamura drilled a 1-1 slider from Buehrle for his first home run off a lefthander this season. The Japanese import then took a curtain call.

"As soon as I hit the ball, I hit it real good, so I knew it was gone," Iwamura said through an interpreter. "But at the same time, this is what (manager Joe Maddon) says all the time - 'Run the bases.' So the first thing in my mind was to run the bases. As soon as I heard the horn, that's the time I actually realized it was a home run."

After some good bullpen work, Tampa Bay added to its lead in the eighth. A single by Crawford scored B.J. Upton, who led off the frame with a triple, to make it 4-2. Crawford stole second and scored on a single by Baldelli, who came home from first on a bloop double by Navarro for the final margin.

The Rays' second-longest tenured player, Kazmir (1-0) survived a 37-pitch first inning to win his postseason debut. He allowed two runs and eight hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 5 1/3 innings.

"It was just me not really trusting my stuff," Kazmir said of his wildness.

The lefthander exited after allowing a leadoff single by Juan Uribe and a sacrifice in the sixth.

Grant Balfour relieved Kazmir and got the final two outs of the frame. He ran into trouble in the seventh, but J.P. Howell got out of a first-and-second jam by retiring the next three hitters.

Howell worked around a leadoff single in the eighth and Chad Bradford pitched the ninth in a non-save situation.

Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Thome and a sacrifice fly by Ramirez. However, the White Sox let Kazmir off the hook when Uribe struck out with the bases loaded.

"It's White Sox baseball," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "You know, we have 12 hits, we got two runs, and they were in the first inning. We left 12 people on base. We got Kazmir against the ropes and we let him go."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHI WHITE SOX 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 12 1
    TAMPA BAY 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 3 x 6 12 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CHA - MARK BUEHRLE, OCTAVIO DOTEL (8TH), MATT THORNTON (8TH) AND
    A.J. PIERZYNSKI
    TAM - SCOTT KAZMIR, GRANT BALFOUR (6TH), J.P. HOWELL
    (7TH), CHAD BRADFORD (9TH) AN

    Oct 3 9:17 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY DIONER NAVARRO SCORED ROCCO BALDELLI.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, D NAVARRO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 2
    TAMPA BAY 6 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: F PEREZ (.333, 1-FOR-3)

    White Sox 2, Rays 6  Bot 8, 0 OutsOct 3 9:01 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ROCCO BALDELLI SCORED CARL CRAWFORD.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, R BALDELLI ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 2
    TAMPA BAY 5 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: D NAVARRO (.286, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    White Sox 2, Rays 5  Bot 8, 0 OutsOct 3 8:56 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARL CRAWFORD SCORED B.J. UPTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C CRAWFORD ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 2
    TAMPA BAY 4 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: E LONGORIA (.667, 1-FOR-3)

    White Sox 2, Rays 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsOct 3 8:48 PM
  • 20
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots

    White Sox 2, Rays 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsOct 3 8:48 PM
  • 55
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    White Sox 2, Rays 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsOct 3 8:22 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY AKINORI IWAMURA (1) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 5TH OFF MARK BUEHRLE SCORED JASON BARTLETT.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 2, TAMPA BAY 3
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B UPTON (.000, 0-FOR-2)

    White Sox 2, Rays 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsOct 3 7:43 PM
  • 20
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots

    White Sox 2, Rays 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsOct 3 7:43 PM
  • 55
    roots
    nik33hil Added 5 roots

    White Sox 2, Rays 1  Bot 5, 0 OutsOct 3 7:41 PM
  • 50
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots

    White Sox 2, Rays 1  Bot 5, 0 OutsOct 3 7:36 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DIONER NAVARRO SCORED WILLY AYBAR.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D NAVARRO ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 2
    TAMPA BAY 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: F PEREZ (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    White Sox 2, Rays 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsOct 3 6:55 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: CHA - MARK BUEHRLE
    TAM - SCOTT KAZMIR

    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: A IWAMURA (.500, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
    B UPTON (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
    C CRAWFORD (.250, 0 HR, 1 RB

    White Sox 2, Rays 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsOct 3 6:28 PM
  • 15
    roots
    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    White Sox vs. RaysOct 3 6:18 PM
  • 10
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    White Sox vs. RaysOct 3 2:16 PM
  • 5
    roots
    shopgirl Added 5 roots

    White Sox vs. RaysOct 2 12:06 PM