ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -Evan Longoria is not letting a hitting slump impact his defense.
The All-Star third baseman turned Miguel Cabrera's bases-loaded grounder behind the bag into a nifty game-ending double play as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Tuesday night.
``There's not many guys that would have made the play Longoria made,' Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. ``He made a great play. He's unbelievably accurate throwing to second base for double plays.'
Rays closer Rafael Soriano struggled in the ninth before getting his 27th save. After loading the bases with one out, he induced the grounder from Cabrera that setup Longoria's key play.
``I was hoping he'd hit it a little harder so I didn't have to make such a split-second decision,' Longoria said. ``Once I fielded it I figured I got it in enough time that I could hopefully get the guy at second and we could turn it. I'm glad it worked out the way it did.'
Longoria is hitless over his last 18 at_bats and has just two homers in the last 31 games.
``That's what I love about our guys. That fearless aspect about the way we play,' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ``Longo's not worried about making a mistake. That's where the fearless aspect comes in. If you're not concerned about making a mistake, you do what Longo did. If you're worried about making a mistake, you take the safe way out.'
James Shields (9-9) gave up two runs and nine hits over 6 2-3 innings one day after teammate Matt Garza threw the Rays' first no-hitter.
Tampa Bay went up 3-2 when Joyce, who hit a grand slam Monday, had a broken-bat run-scoring double off Justin Verlander (12-6) during the sixth.
``That's tough. I made the pitch I wanted to,' said Verlander, who is 7-2 in his last nine decisions. ``I got the result, I jammed him. He got enough barrel on it, hit in the right spot and was able to get a bloop double.'
Verlander allowed three runs and five hits in his second complete game of the season.
Carlos Pena put the Rays ahead 2-0 on a two-run homer in the first. Carl Crawford had three stolen bases, giving him 37 this season.
Rays center fielder B.J. Upton left in the first inning with a sprained left ankle and may be out of the lineup for a few days. He was hurt while moving in on Will Rhymes' one-out single.
Rhymes' first major league hit was also the first hit of the game for Detroit, which was limited to one walk by Garza in Tampa Bay's 5-0 win Monday night.
Detroit tied it at 2 in the sixth on Ryan Raburn's RBI infield single. A second run scored on the play when shortstop Jason Bartlett was charged with an error for an errant throw to first
Detroit went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Cabrera doubled in the fourth, but was later thrown out at plate when he tried to score after Shields' pitch in the dirt eluded catcher John Jaso. Shields took the throw and tagged out Cabrera after Jaso tracked down the loose ball.
Cabrera was intentionally walked by left-hander Randy Choate with runners on first and second and two outs in the seventh. Maddon then brought in right-hander Grant Balfour, who struck out left-handed hitting Brennan Boesch on three pitches.
NOTES: Leyland expects to get fined for his ejection in Monday night's game when he accidentally sprayed sunflower seeds on umpire Marty Foster during an argument. ... Maddon has no plans to have postgame celebration rules after Florida LF Chris Coghlan hurt his left knee while delivering a pie in the face to a teammate Sunday. ``No Maddon's rules,' Maddon said.
The Associated Press News Service
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