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Rays stay red-hot, down Diamondbacks

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Roberto Hernandez came within one out of a complete-game shutout, and Yunel Escobar and Ben Zobrist drove in two runs each as the Tampa Bay Rays opened a five-game homestand with a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

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The Rays won for the 21st time in 25 games this month and maintained their half-game lead over Boston in the AL East.

Hernandez (6-11) opened the game by hitting Gerardo Parra with a pitch and giving up a single to Aaron Hill. He then retired 22 of the next 25 batters before Parra singled leading off the ninth. Eric Chavez ended Hernandez's shutout bid with a two-out home run.

Hernandez struck out six and walked one in his first complete game of the season.

Zobrist and James Loney drove in runs in the first inning off Arizona starter Ian Kennedy, and Escobar made it 3-0 with his eighth home run in the fourth.

Making his 10th straight unsuccessful attempt for his 50th career win, Kennedy (3-8) gave up six hits and three runs while striking out seven in five innings. He has not won since June 1.

Hill had two of Arizona's four hits, but was doubled up after each of them.

NOTES: The game was delayed 20 minutes in the second inning when some lights went out as a result of a lightning strike at a nearby power substation. ... Rays RHP Alex Cobb threw 50 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday and is scheduled to pitch three innings Saturday for Port Charlotte of the Class-A Florida State League in a rehab start. Cobb has not pitched for the Rays since sustaining a concussion when he was hit by a line drive on June 15. ... Hill is 19-for-44 (.442) in his last 12 interleague games.

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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