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Just back from minors, Gimenez delivers in clutch for Rays

The SportsXchange

Maybe Chris Gimenez will be this year's Dan Johnson for the Tampa Bay Rays.

The journeyman catcher delivered what he acknowledged was his biggest hit Monday, singling home the winning run as the Rays opened a key series with a 4-3 win over the New York Yankees.

"Well," Gimenez said, "that was one of the best things that's happened in my career."

Gimenez had a six-week stint with the Rays early this season, when he hit .191 in 24 games, and he had been at Class AAA Durham since late May before his Sept. 1 call-up.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he deserved credit for "re-making" himself as a hitter, and his strong offensive showing, particularly against lefties, earned him a September call-up and a start Monday against CC Sabathia. Gimenez batted .310 with a .389 on-base percentage, a .483 slugging percentage, 10 homers and 49 RBI in 71 games for Durham. He hit .375 (36-for-96) against left-handers.

Gimenez hopes to enjoy the ride, much as Johnson did last season, delivering key hits down the stretch.

"This is the first time I've ever been in a playoff hunt," Gimenez said. "The other times, with Cleveland and Seattle, we were in last place."

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