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Longoria's Big Night Fuels Rays Third Straight Win

ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- Evan Longoria had four hits, including an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning that broke a 4-4 tie to give the Tampa Bay Rays their third straight victory, a 5-4 decision over the New York Yankees to start their three-game series.

Longoria's fourth hit came off reliever Tyler Clippard, and came after the Mitchell High product alternated walking both Derek Norris and Kevin Kiermaier and striking out Corey Dickerson.

Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez allowed a run in the top of the first, with an RBI groundout by Starlin Castro that scored Jacoby Ellsbury.  

Tampa Bay responded in the bottom of the inning as Corey Dickerson led off the inning with a base hit and after fielder's choices by Kevin Kiermaier and Longoria erased the runner in front of them, Morrison doubled into the triangle in left-center, scoring Longoria from first to tie the game.

The Yankees regained the lead in the third as Brett Gardner reached on a bunt single and took second on a throwing error by Longoria.  Ellsbury then doubled down the left-field line to bring in Gardner for a 2-1 advantage.

Despite not throwing more than 28 pitches in any outing this month, Ramirez worked into the sixth inning, departing after a one-out single by Castro after throwing 65 pitches on the evening.  

The Rays got Ramirez off the hook in the seventh, as Tyler Clippard allowing three straight singles to Dickerson, Kiermaier and Longoria to start the inning.  Logan Morrison then lifted a sacrifice fly to bring in Dickerson to tie the game, and after Steven Souza struck out, the chess game saw New York bring in left-hander Chasen Shreve and Kevin Cash counter with Rickie Weeks Jr.  Weeks would come through with a double that somehow got past Ronald Torreyes and into left field, scoring both Kiermaier and Longoria to give Tampa Bay their first lead.

The lead would be short-lived, however, as Jose Alvarado walked Gardner, and two batters later, Ryne Stanek gave up a two-run homer to Matt Holliday, his eighth of the year to re-tie the game, setting up Longoria's heroics in the bottom of the inning.

Danny Farquhar, who induced a double play grounder by Aaron Judge to end the top of the eighth, picked up the win to improve to 2-1 on the season, while Alex Colome worked a perfect ninth for his 11th save.

The win gets Tampa Bay back to .500 on the season at 22-22.

The Rays can get above .500 Saturday in the middle game of the series, as Matt Andriese (3-1, 3.18 ERA) takes on Masahiro Tanaka (5-2,  5.80 ERA).  First pitch is scheduled for 4:10, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 3:00 with The Inside Pitch, Presented by Sykes Lakeland.


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