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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Can't blame virus for this feeling
Although the Rays' health improves, their spirits don't after the Indians rally to win.
By MARC TOPKIN
Published April 21, 2007
ST. PETERSBURG - The Devil Rays felt better Friday, most - though not all - remnants of the virus sweeping through their clubhouse gone.
But they went home feeling bad again, coming up just short in a 4-3 loss to Cleveland.
The score was 3-3 going to the ninth when the Indians rallied.
Juan Salas, so impressive in the eighth, looked like a different pitcher in his second inning, allowing a leadoff double to Andy Marte whom the Rays may wish they had acquired in a 2005 trade just so he stops beating up on them, then a walk to Grady Sizemore.
Manager Joe Maddon turned to Al Reyes, his most dependable reliever, to save the game, even though it was not a save situation. Reyes got the first out, catching David Dellucci looking at a third strike.
He went to a 2-2 count against dangerous Travis Hafner, the Rays in an exaggerated shift behind him, with shortstop Brendan Harris on the second-base side of the bag. Hafner smacked the high changeup for a single to center, Marte scoring as Rocco Baldelli's throw curled up the line.
"He's different," Maddon said of Hafner. "He plays in that other league that's above this league, whenever it's established. And, quite frankly, I wish he'd go there tomorrow. He's one of the better hitters in all of baseball."
The Rays (6-10) faced a large challenge in left-hander C.C. Sabathia, who at his listed 6 feet 7, 290 pounds is 2 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice. Sabathia went seven innings, allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits and had eight strikeouts.
The Rays - The Team That Can't Bunt Straight - tied it in the seventh with some help.
After Delmon Young singled and Akinori Iwamura popped up an attempt at a sacrifice, the Rays got the benefit of a not-always-common call by second-base umpire Brian Runge, who ruled shortstop Mike Rouse was off the bag when he took the throw from second baseman Josh Barfield.
Although the Rays had been caught stealing twice, upping their major-league-leading total to 13, Young was off and running. And when catcher Victor Martinez's throw was high and wide, Young scrambled to his feet and dashed home to make it 3-3.
Rays starter Edwin Jackson wasn't as bad as he was April 14 in Minnesota (five runs, three hits, five walks, three innings) when he summarized his performance by saying he pitched "like a (wimp)."
But he wasn't good enough to win either, allowing three runs on five hits (including a two-run homer by Hafner) and three unintentional walks (plus two intentional ones).
The Indians took a 2-0 lead in the third when Sizemore singled and Hafner homered to left.
The Rays halved it in their half as B.J. Upton hit a massive homer over the centerfield wall.
The Indians expanded the lead to 3-1 in the fifth but ran themselves out of a chance for more. With the bases loaded after a one-out walk, a double and an intentional walk of Hafner, Martinez smashed a ball off the glove of first baseman Ty Wigginton.
Martinez beat Wigginton's flip to first, but, as Sizemore scored, Hafner took a wide turn at second. Jackson threw to the base, and shortstop Harris ran Hafner down for the second out. After another intentional walk to Trot Nixon, Jackson got Casey Blake on a fly to centerfield.