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Rays outlast Padres, 'over' connects

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Huston Street bemoaned the pitch he couldn't make, even though it wasn't the one that actually cost San Diego a victory.

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Evan Longoria's two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Tampa Bay Rays an 8-7 victory Saturday night. The Padres' closer, however, was just as upset about walking Ben Zobrist to give Longoria a chance to win it with a drive over the left-center field wall.

Zobrist walked on a full-count pitch, bringing up Longoria.

``You get him 1-2, you've got to make a pitch,'' said Street, who retired the first two batters in the ninth and had been 8 for 8 in save situations. ``I'm frustrated about that just as much as leaving a pitch to Longoria in the middle of the plate.''

The Rays won their fourth straight, coming back after Jesus Guzman's pinch-hit grand slam off Jeremy Hellickson helped San Diego overcome a 6-2 deficit in the seventh.

Cesar Ramos (1-0) got the win. The Rays moved up to .500 for the first time since April 7.

``It was a game I wanted to win ... the way we came back,'' Street said.

Longoria hit his ninth homer of the season on a 2-1 pitch.

``He hung a slider to Longoria and he squared it up. Plain and simple, that's what happened,'' Padres manager Bud Black said. ``He didn't pop it up. He didn't ground out. He didn't mishit it. That's the fate of a closer.''

James Loney hit a two-run homer as the Rays roughed up San Diego's Burch Smith in the second inning of his major league debut. The Rays scored six runs on five hits and a couple of walks in the inning and drove Smith out of the game.

Smith, a 23-year-old righty called up from Double-A San Antonio, got three quick outs, including a couple of strikeouts in the first inning.

But he walked Longoria to lead off the second and Loney followed with his second homer of the season. Smith threw 26 pitches in the inning without getting an out. Tyson Ross finished the inning for the Padres and pitched four shutout innings of relief.

``It was sort of a tale of two different innings,'' Black said of Smith's debut.

``The first inning, great results. ... Second inning, it looked as though he couldn't find the strike zone. And if he did, he found the middle,'' the manager added. ``Very small sample, just one-plus (inning). My first-time look, he's got a good arm. His pitches will play in the major leagues. It's just a matter of him continuing to grow and gain experience.''

Smith said he wasn't nearly as nervous as he thought might be for his first big-league outing. He's anxious to build on what he learned.

``Hitters at this level are going to take advantage of mistakes,'' he said, ``come back next time and do better.''

Hellickson retired 16 straight batters after giving up three hits, including Chase Headley's two-run homer, in the first.

The Rays starter took a four-run lead into the seventh, when he walked Carlos Quentin to start the Padres' rally. After Guzman's slam, Quentin walked again in the same inning, this time with the bases loaded against Jamey Wright to force in the lead run that made it 7-6.

Hellickson pitched 6 2-3 innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits while striking out eight.

``Tremendous comeback by our guys,'' Black said. ``The bullpen did a good job. We fell one pitch short in the end.''

NOTES: San Diego optioned RHP Brad Boxberger to Triple-A Tucson to open a roster spot for Smith. Boxberger appeared in two games for the Padres. .... Padres LHP Clayton Richard, recovering from an intestinal virus and eligible to come off the disabled list on May 20, will pitch for Triple-A Tucson in a rehab game on Thursday.

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