by Steve Carney
Roberto Hernandez earned his second win of the year, and James Loney hit his second long home run in as many days, as the Tampa Bay Rays not only finished off a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres, but won their fifth straight game 4-2 Sunday at Tropicana Field.
Hernandez was nearly perfect in first three innings, allowing just a single hit, and getting some fantastic defense behind him.
Watch Sam Fuld's incredible catch on a Will Venable fly ball in the first inning!
Tampa Bay got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning, as Evan Longoria drew a walk from Eric Stults to start the inning, went to second on a James Loney single, took third on a one-out walk to Yunel Escobar, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Molina.
San Diego tied the game in the fourth as Chase Headley walked with one out. Carlos Quentin followed with a single, and Yonder Alonso's single brought home Headley to make it 1-1.
Alexi Amarista broke the tie an inning later, lifting his second home run of the year to right-center.
After squandering an opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth, the Rays got to Eric Stults in the sixth, as Longoria doubled, moved to third on a Loney flyout, and scored on an RBI single by Sean Rodriguez. Rodriguez then came around to score on a wild pitch and double by Yunel Escobar to make it 3-2.
James Loney tacked on an insurance run in the eighth, blasting his third home run of the year off Dale Thayer.
Jake McGee, Joel Peralta, and Fernando Rodney each threw a scoreless inning of relief, with Rodney picking up his sixth save.
Rodney got some help from Matt Joyce, who channeled his inner Willie Mays to rob Chris Denorfia of extra bases.
Watch Matt Joyce's over the shoulder basket catch in the ninth!
Tampa Bay has Monday off before welcoming in the Boston Red Sox for three games Tuesday. The opener will feature Matt Moore (6-0, 2.14 ERA) taking on John Lackey (1-3, 2.82 ERA). First pitch Tuesday is at 7:10, with coverage on 620 WDAE / 95.3 FM starting at 6:00 with the Suncoast Hyundai Dealers Inside Pitch.