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Myers homers in Rays' victory

The SportsXchange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - On back-to-back swings of his bat, Wil Myers played a critical role in a pair of weekend victories for the Tampa Bay Rays over the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

Myers capped a 2-1 victory Saturday night with a bases-loaded single in the 10th inning off reliever Jean Machi, who walked the bases full.

In the first inning Sunday, the rookie outfielder drilled the first pitch he saw from Giants right-hander Guillermo Moscoso deep into the left-field stands at Tropicana Field. The first capacity crowd at the dome since Opening Day eventually celebrated a 4-3 victory for the Rays, who have won 25 of their last 31 games.

Myers didn't hesitate when asked which big swing was the most fulfilling.

"Home runs are always fun," he said, "but yesterday, getting the win - obviously, it's a walk-off win - that's pretty cool."

Also pretty cool has been the bat of teammate Evan Longoria, who was hitless in 19 consecutive at-bats before delivering a key hit in the fifth inning. The star third baseman began the day with another frustrating streak, having struck out at least twice in eight consecutive games and in 10 of his last 11. He did not strike out Sunday.

"With two strikes, I wasn't swinging and missing. So that's a step in the right direction," said Longoria, who saved the ball he hit to go 1-for-4. "Obviously, it was a huge confidence booster."

San Francisco opened the scoring in the first inning on consecutive singles by Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey off right-hander Roberto Hernandez.

Trailing 2-1 after the home run by Myers, the Giants regained the lead at 3-2 in the fourth on a two-run triple by Brandon Crawford.

Alex Torres replaced Hernandez in the fifth after a two-out double by Posey. Moscoso, making his first start since being acquired in a late July trade with the Chicago Cubs, also gave up three runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Sam Fuld led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk, stole second and scored the tying run on a two-out single by Longoria. Moscoso then walked Myers before giving way to Jose Mijares, who retired James Loney on a fly ball for the final out of the inning.

The Rays scored the winning run in the sixth off Mijares (0-3). Yunel Escobar led off with a walk, advanced on a fielder's choice and crossed the plate on a two-out single by Fuld.

Torres erased all four batters he faced, striking out two, to post his fourth victory without a loss and lower his ERA to 0.26.

Fernando Rodney set the Giants down in order in the ninth for his 18th consecutive save.

"The bullpen ... they're going to be the best in the American League," said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, who also got scoreless innings from Jake McGee and Joel Peralta. "I think they're getting close to that right now."

Meanwhile, three Giants pitchers combined to walk seven batters. Passes to leadoff batters have become a source of frustration.

"It's been many of the staff," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "For some reason, we've walked too many leadoff guys, and it's come back to haunt us."

The Giants outhit the Rays 9-6, collecting two each from Scutaro, Posey and Hunter Pence. Myers led the Rays with two hits.

NOTES: Tampa Bay has not lost a series since dropping two of three games at Boston in mid-June. The Rays since have won 11 series -- including a club-record 10 in a row -- and split two others. ... Tampa Bay owns the best interleague record in the majors at 11-3. San Francisco is 3-8 against the American League. ... The Giants have a winning record (30-29) against teams .500 or better, yet the defending World Series champions are 19-32 against opponents with losing records. ... The Rays have matched the pace of their 2008 pennant winner through 111 games at 66-45. ... Florida State University baseball coach Mike Martin delivered the ceremonial first pitch. One of his former players is Posey.
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