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Rays demote Balfour from closing games

The SportsXchange

The Tampa Bay Rays dropped struggling reliever Grant Balfour from the closer's role and will go with a committee for the ninth inning.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said Monday he is making the move a day after Balfour gave up five runs with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning of Sunday's 5-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

"It just hasn't worked out," Maddon said.

Balfour has converted nine of 11 save opportunities this season but is 0-2 with a 6.46 ERA and has walked 20 in 23 2/3 innings.

"I think I upset the baseball gods or did something wrong," Balfour said Sunday. "I've never given up five runs in my career in an inning and I've done it twice this year."

Maddon said that Balfour will likely get a chance to close later this season.

Jake McGee and Juan Carlos Oviedo are among the candidates to get ninth-inning duties.

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