Burrell's big day powers Rays to victory

BOSTON - The night began in the cold rain at 7:13 p.m. and ended 19 minutes past midnight. In that span the Rays managed to finish one game with a victory and start and finish another with another win.

"It was worth sticking around for," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Their 3-1, 12-inning win against the Red Sox in the suspended game that resumed before Saturday's scheduled game and their 6-5 victory in the scheduled game that ended early Sunday morning increased the Rays record to 5-0 halfway through this 10-game road trip and moved them into a tie for first place with the Yankees.

"We got to keep this thing riding," pitchers James Shields said. "I know the last couple of years our road record has not been too good, so to be able to go 5-0 right out the gate is huge for us."

Shields earned his first ever Fenway Park victory after working 6 2/3 innings and throwing a career-high 121 pitches in the nightcap.
"It feels pretty good," Shields said. "We've been playing really well on the road, so it's nice to get off a 5-0 start on the road, that's good for our confidence."

The Rays really needed a long outing from Shields with the bullpen gassed from the 12-inning affair. Grant Balfour, who pitched two innings before the rain halted Friday's game, and Lance Cormier, who pitched three innings and got the win in the suspended game were unavailable, and Shields delivered.

He allowed nine hits and four runs, but never gave up the 4-0 lead the offense built in the first inning. Neither did Andy Sonnanstine, who replaced Shields and gave up a two-run homer to Kevin Youkilis, nor Randy Choate, Dan Wheeler and Rafael Soriano, who closed out both victories.

"These guys are young and I tell them keep the lead, keep the lead," Maddon said. "And if you hold the lead, you're going to win games."
The Rays won the first game, thanks to some solid pitching by Cormier and some nifty defense by Carlos Peña, Dioner Navarro and Evan Longoria, who each combined to stop a bases-loaded, no-out threat in the bottom of the 11th.

After two singles and an error by Longoria loaded the bases, Maddon brought right fielder Ben Zobrist in as a fifth infielder. Cormier got David Ortiz to ground to Peña, who forced J.D. Drew at the plate, but not after Navarro fielded a one-hop throw and held on to the ball despite a collision with Drew. Cormier then got Adrian Beltre to bounce to Longoria, who stepped on third and threw over to Peña to complete the double play.

"(Cormier) putting the ball on the ground twice was what got us out of that jam," Maddon said.

Said Cormier, "Once (Longoria) made the error, it was like, 'All right, bases-loaded, not a fun situation to be in. It's raining. It's freezing. Let's make the best off it,' and that's what I tried doing. Once that next play happened I felt good about it. I was like I'm going to get another ground ball."

Pat Burrell then gave the Rays a 3-1 lead with a two-out, two-run homer over the Green Monster – his first home run and first RBIs of the season.

"To touch one off like that under these circumstances has got to help his confidence I would have to believe," Maddon said.
Maybe so.

Burrell helped stake Shields to that 4-0, first-inning lead in the second game with a two-out, three-run double.

"I figured at some point I'd be able to drive in a run," Burrell said. "I have been really trying to get back to the basic things I've done in the past, and I've seen some results here and there. I'm supposed to be a run producer, so it's nice to get out there and get the opportunity and take advantage."

An RBI double by John Jaso in the sixth inning and a home run off the light tower in left field by Longoria in the seventh gave the Rays a 6-1 lead.

But the Red Sox clawed back with four in the seventh on a pair of two-run homers, the first by Dustin Pedroia and the second by Youkilis.

But the Rays bullpen held again.

Soriano informed Maddon he would be able to pitch again after playing catch with bullpen coach Bobby Ramos before the eighth inning. That allowed Maddon to use Wheeler in the eighth.

Soriano came on in the ninth the face Pedroia, Victor Martinez and Youkilis and, for the first time all season, retired the side in order for this fourth save of the season.

"It's certainly tough to come in twice in one day with a two- and a one-run lead and be successful, let alone against a team like this coming through the middle of the order," Burrell said. "So you have to give him a lot of credit for, one, being available and, two, going out and getting three outs."

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