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News » Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2008-07-29

Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2008-07-29

Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2008-07-29
The Rays lost again Monday, making it 12 times in their last 18 outings.

But they hung on to first place in the increasingly crowded AL East race with a 61-44 record as the Red Sox (one game back) and Yankees (3) both lost, and the Blue Jays crept within 7 1/2.

But manager Joe Maddon made a point -- repeatedly -- that he was encouraged by the effort and the intensity. That's interesting, because it came two days after he blasted the Rays for their lack of hustle.

"I really liked the way we played tonight a lot," he said. "The way we ran, the way we played defense, little things we did and were trying to do, I loved it.

"If we keep doing what we did tonight, even though it was a loss, I believe that's the kind of game that's going to get us into the playoffs, that kind of effort. I loved it. Absolutely loved it."

He had things to be excited about, such as third baseman Evan Longoria and shortstop Jason Bartlett making dazzling diving plays, Shields battling into the eighth, Carl Crawford hustling to stretch a single into a double and trying a rare bunt, even B.J. Upton for an aggressive -- though unsuccessful -- attempt at a diving catch.

JAYS 3, RAYS 1: The Rays' recent offensive struggles continued as Toronto's tough A.J. Burnett outdueled James Shields. The Rays had the bases loaded twice in the first three innings but managed just one unearned run.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: July 29, 2008

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