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Souza's Blast Gives Rays Finale Over Brewers

ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- For the first time in nearly two and a half seasons, the Tampa Bay Rays finished a game by hitting a walk-off home run, as Steven Souza Jr's solo homer off Jacob Barnes broke a 1-1 tie to give them a 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers 

Tampa Bay loaded the bases in the second inning off Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson with base hits by Logan Morrison and Souza, followed by a walk to Brad Miller.  Wilson Ramos then chopped into a double play to score Morrison and open the scoring.

Chris Archer put up zeroes through the first five frame, but Orlando Arcia picked on a changeup that lead out off the inside half of the plate to lead off the top of the sixth with his 11th home run of the year and second of the weekend, tying the game at 1-1.

Archer would exit after the sixth inning, having allowed just the single run on three hits but not faring in the decision.

Steve Cishek worked a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Archer.  Dan Jennings gave up a walk, but got a double play grounder in the eighth, and Tommy Hunter finished the eighth and got around a two-on no-out situation in the ninth to put up a zero and earn his first win as a member of the Rays.

Souza took the first pitch from Barnes off the plate before despositing the second pitch into left-center for his 24th home run of the season, becoming the first Rays player to hit a walk-off home run since Sean Rodriguez took Oakland's Luke Gregerson deep in the 11th inning on May 22, 2014.

The win is Tampa Bay's 58th of the year and puts them back to three games over .500 on the year.

The Rays have Monday off before welcoming the Boston Red Sox to Tropicana Field Tuesday.  Austin Pruitt (6-2, 5.65 ERA) will start the opener against left-hander Chris Sale (13-4, 2.70 ERA).  First pitch is scheduled for 7:10, with coverage on WDAE starting at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Sykes Lakeland. 

NOTES: Rays starters over the weekend combined to allow just three runs on 12 hits, walking just four and striking out 22 hitters in 18 innings, but finished 0-2 in the three starts.  

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