ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Carlos Pena had more to play for than a Tampa Bay victory.
Pena homered twice and drove in the winning run with an RBI single in the 10th inning, giving the Rays a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.The Rays' first baseman learned early Saturday that his close friend and college teammate, Greg Montalbano, had died of cancer Friday night. Montalbano pitched in the minors for the Boston Red Sox.
• Carlos Pena's seventh career walk-off hit -- first this season -- gave the Rays their sixth win in seven games. He also homered twice to extend his AL-leading total to 34. He now has as many homers as he does singles this season.
• J.P. Howell blew his first save in 14 chances.
• Michael Young posted his third straight three-hit game, the second time this season he's accomplished that.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
"I was crushed," Pena said. "He was my right hand in college. He's been battling cancer for 10 years. He was always smiling. The only thing that comforts me is I know he's in a better place, but we're going to miss him greatly."Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch from Jason Grilli (1-2), just off the disabled list, to start the bottom of the 10th and went to second when Ben Zobrist walked. Pena then hit a liner to center to score Longoria.Afterward, the slugger was still thinking about Montalbano."I dedicated this game to his memory and his family," Pena said.Pena finished with four RBIs for the Rays, who remain three games behind AL wild-card-leading Boston. The Rangers fell two games back of the Red Sox, who beat the New York Yankees 14-1."Carlos swung at strikes and didn't miss them," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.Pena has three of his 16 career multihomer games this season, and has eight homers over his last 14 games.Grant Balfour (5-2) struck out two during a scoreless 10th for the win.Marlon Byrd pulled the Rangers even at 4 on a two-out, ninth-inning solo homer off Tampa Bay closer J.P. Howell, who had converted his previous 13 save opportunities."We came back and won it. You know what, it really eliminates what happened," Howell said.Pat Burrell hit a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth as the Rays took a 4-3 lead. His drive off the left-field wall scored Pena, who drew a two-out walk from C.J. Wilson.Michael Young homered and had his third straight three-hit game. He has 18 three-hit games this season and 144 in his career, which is three behind teammate Ivan Rodriguez's club record."It was a well-played game," Young said. "Those kind of games, you love being the home team."Pena hit a solo homer in the second and put the Rays up 3-2 on a two-run shot in the fourth.Texas went ahead 2-1 in the third when Taylor Teagarden drove in a run with a double and Young had an RBI triple. Young tied it at 3 on a sixth-inning solo homer.Tampa Bay's Matt Garza allowed three runs and six hits over seven innings. He has just one win in his last nine starts.Rangers right-hander Tommy Hunter gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings.Young singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He has 19 career double-digit hitting streaks, which ties the Rangers mark held by Rodriguez.The game was delayed for a couple of minutes in the ninth when Byrd was hit by peanuts thrown from the left-field seats. Additional security was sent to the area."We played a good game. They just played better than us," Byrd said.
The AL East-leading Yankees had a group of scouts at the game between playoff contenders. ... Longoria hit into his AL-leading 23rd double play this season in the third. ... Byrd has 13 RBIs over his last 13 games. ... The Rangers activated Grilli (right elbow) from the 15-day disabled list before the game and optioned RHP Willie Eyre to Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... Texas RHP Brandon McCarthy (right shoulder) made his fourth minor league rehab start for Oklahoma City.