Rays, Padres conclude set at Tropicana Field

10:51 AM, May 12, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays will lean more on Roberto Hernandez -- and perhaps a little less on the dramatics -- when they meet the San Diego Padres on Sunday afternoon to wrap up a three-game series at Tropicana Field.

The Rays won their second straight in the series and fourth in a row overall in stirring fashion on Saturday, when Evan Longoria hit a game-winning, two- run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to provide an 8-7 win.

Reliever Huston Street (0-2) blew the save while trying to hold a 7-6 San Diego lead heading into the ninth. The right-hander retired the first two batters he faced, but walked Ben Zobrist and then served up Longoria's clutch home run.

"It takes the team to be able to get you up to the plate in those opportunities, and fortunately enough I've been able to come through," Longoria said. "It doesn't get any better than being able to be in the moment and come through, so it feels good."

The Padres had taken the lead after scoring five runs in the seventh. Pinch- hitter Jesus Guzman hit a grand slam and Carlos Quentin walked with the bases loaded.

Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson entered the seventh with a four-run advantage, but loaded the bases and allowed Guzman's game-tying blast. Reliever Jamey Wright quickly filled the bags again, before Quentin walked to force in a run.

James Loney added a two-run shot and Yunel Escobar drove in two runs for the Rays. Cesar Ramos (1-0) tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win.

Hernandez, previously known as Fausto Carmona, has won just once in six starts for the Rays, with whom he signed after making 184 big-league appearances with the Cleveland Indians.

He won 19 games with Cleveland in 2007 and 13 more in 2010, but was 0-3 last season and was granted free agency at the end of October. He then signed a one-year, $3.25 million deal in December.

Hernandez dropped his initial three starts with Tampa Bay, then broke through for a victory after allowing a run on three hits in six innings of an 8-1 triumph over Oakland on April 21.

Two starts since have yielded a loss and a no-decision while he's surrendered 13 hits and six runs in 12 innings.

Hernandez has never faced the Padres.

San Diego goes with lefty Eric Stults, who's unbeaten in three starts since a loss at San Francisco on April 21.

The 33-year-old Indiana native won eight games while splitting 2012 between the Chicago White Sox and the Padres.

He opened 2013 with a 2-1 win over the New York Mets on April 4, then lost two of three starts before beginning the aforementioned unbeaten string on April 27.

Stults allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings of his last outing, a 5-1 defeat of Miami on May 7.

He has never faced the Rays.

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