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Rays notes: Team conveys sympathies for bombing victims

Published:   |   Updated: April 16, 2013 at 08:12 AM
BOSTON -

The Rays were in the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park changing from their uniforms to their street clothes when the bombs detonated about two miles away near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

The team made its charter flight to Baltimore, landing just before 6:30 p.m.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families affected by this afternoon’s horrible event,” manager Joe Maddon tweeted.

Tweeted LHP David Price: “Very scary that stuff like that happens … please keep them in your prayers.”

Longo goes yard 3B Evan Longoria hit his first home run of the season today in the fourth inning, a shot that sailed over Fenway Park’s Green Monster in left field and tied the score at 1.

“That ball was properly struck right there,” Maddon said. “He’s been seeing the ball pretty good, I think, and he did get that one.”

It was Longoria’s first extra-base hit of the season after 11 consecutive singles.

“I don’t have any doubts I’m going to hit home runs here or there,” Longoria said. “It feels good, it’s definitely a little bit of a weight off my shoulders. Hopefully I don’t just hit one this year. Hopefully there’s plenty more.”

The homer was also the first by a Ray since April 6, snapping a span of six games and 219 homerless at-bats. The team record for consecutive games without a home run is seven set in 2007. The Rays had gone 8 days, 15 hours, 23 minutes between homers.

Tough call Longoria nearly drove in the trying run in the sixth inning when he grounded to shortstop with two outs and DH Kelly Johnson on third base.

Red Sox SS Stephen Drew went behind second base to field the ball and made a strong throw to first. Longoria appeared on replays to have beaten the throw, but first base umpire Angel Hernandez called him out.

“You guys can make the determination on what the outcome of the play was,” Longoria told reporters after the game. “We’re playing our (butts) off and we’re not getting any breaks and it’s unfortunate.”

Longoria slammed his batting helmet on the ground, and Maddon argued with Hernandez.

“I just wanted to point out to him that I thought he was safe. That’s it,” Maddon said. “He thought he was out.”

Good day for Hellickson RHP Jeremy Hellickson allowed a leadoff triple to Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury in the bottom of the first inning but settled down to throw seven strong innings. He allowed only three hits and struck out nine.

Despite the 11 a.m. start, Hellickson had all his pitches working and said he was getting the Red Sox to chase his curveball and fastball out of the strike zone.

“I had better command than I had last game,” Hellickson said.

The Rays were concerned how Hellickson would react to the early start time.

“He did a nice job,” Maddon said. “He made first class. Got in there before the first bell, which I often times did not.”

Escobar struggling SS Yunel Escobar’s batting average dipped to .098 after going 0-for-3 in Monday’s loss.

Escobar is now 1-for-20 on this trip.

“Offensively, it’s just a lot of early contact on the ground that’s (become) relatively easy outs,” Maddon said. “The balls that he’s hit hard have been outs, so it’s a bad combination to get his confidence going. We need to get his confidence going. He just needs to get a couple of them to fall and all of a suddenly he’s going to have a different outlook about himself.”

No on the no-no The Rays came within six outs of being on the wrong end of the sixth no-hitter in team history Sunday. Johnson broke up RHP Clay Buchholz’s bid with a leadoff single in the eighth inning.

He is the seventh Ray to break up a no-hitter in the eighth inning or later in club history, joining Kevin Stocker (leadoff single against Toronto’s Woody Williams in the eighth on May 19, 1998), John Flaherty (leadoff single in the ninth against Boston’s Pedro Martinez on Aug. 29, 2000), Randy Winn (leadoff single against Boston’s Tim Wakefield on June 19, 2001), Marlon Anderson (one-out single in the eighth off the Yankees’ Roger Clemens on June 18, 2003), Kelly Shoppach (two-out single in the eighth off the Yankees’ C.C. Sabathia on April 10, 2010) and Longoria (two-out single against Toronto’s Brandon Morrow on Aug. 8, 2010).

Noteworthy The Rays were swept in Fenway for the first time since September 2009 … The Rays have been outscored 33-10 in their last seven games, losing six of them … RF Ben Zobrist’s RBI single in the ninth snapped a team-wide 0-for-24 skid with runners in scoring position.

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