ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Carlos Pena admits there is a growing sense that Tampa Bay might be destined for big things this season.
That said, the Rays are trying to stay calm about their success.
Pena's three-run homer capped a six-run rally in the ninth inning that carried the Rays past the Cleveland Indians 10-7 Wednesday for one of their most thrilling victories in a wondrous season.
"That's something that we definitely think about it and envision," Pena said. "We actually see it in reality at the same time. It's very important for us that we also put it in perspective. We know it's great, we're enjoy it, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. We never lose focus in the fact, 'Hey, let's play the game today.' It's most important for us."'
Eric Hinske had an RBI double in the ninth and Gabe Gross tied it 7-all with a two-run homer off Edward Mujica, who was trying for his first major league save.
Masa Kobayashi (4-5) replaced Mujica and gave up an infield single to Akinori Iwamura. The right-hander then walked Ben Zobrist before Pena homered to center for his fifth career game-ending homer, setting off a raucous celebration at Tropicana Field.
"Probably the most exciting win I've been involved with here," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Pena tossed his helmet aside as he approached home plate, where he was mobbed by jubilant teammates bouncing in unison. The AL East leaders, who have never won more than 70 games in 10 previous seasons, improved to 68-45 with their eighth victory in 11 games.
Troy Percival (2-0) got two outs in the ninth for the win.
Jhonny Peralta went 5-for-5 with a solo homer and two RBIs for the Indians.
RED SOX 8, ROYALS 2: At Kansas City, Mo., Jacoby Ellsbury hit a three-run homer and Tim Wakefield's baffling knuckleball shut down Kansas City on four hits through six innings. Jed Lowrie and J.D. Drew drove in two runs apiece for the Red Sox, who finished their season series 6-1 against the Royals. Wakefield (7-8) threw knuckleballs almost exclusively, tossing practically each delivery toward the plate in the 63 mph range while winning for the first time in four starts.
Luke Hochevar (6-10) dropped to 0-3 in his last four starts, with an ERA of 7.48. He went 5 2-3 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits, with three walks and two strikeouts.
YANKEES 5, RANGERS 3: At Arlington, Texas, Jason Giambi homered, Sidney Ponson beat his former Texas teammates and Mariano Rivera returned from an aching back to save a win for New York. Ponson (7-2), released by Texas in June, gave up three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. Rivera, who hadn't pitched since Friday because of back spasms, threw a one-hit ninth for his career-best 27th consecutive save this season.
Derek Jeter had two hits and two RBIs after attending a memorial service earlier in the day in Oklahoma City for former Yankees star and longtime broadcaster Bobby Murcer.
Tommy Hunter (0-1)was sloppy in his second career start. The right-hander gave up five runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings.
WHITE SOX 5, TIGERS 1: At Chicago, Jim Thome hit a three-run homer and John Danks worked efficiently into the seventh inning, helping the White Sox stay a game ahead of Minnesota in the AL Central. Danks (9-4) allowed one run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings, giving the White Sox a lift after they used seven relievers in a 14-inning win over Detroit the previous night. Danks struck out six and walked one, leaving to a standing ovation in the seventh.
Chicago was without manager Ozzie Guillen, who served the last game of a two-game suspension for making contact with umpire Tim Timmons last Sunday at Kansas City.
Justin Verlander (8-12) gave up three runs in the first, then lasted into the eighth inning. He threw 130 pitches, giving up all five runs on six hits with eight strikeouts.
TWINS 7, MARINERS 3: At Seattle, rookie Denard Span drove in a career-high four runs and robbed Adrian Beltre of a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning, leading the Twins to a victory. Nick Blackburn (9-6) allowed three runs in six innings to tie Detroit's Armando Galarraga for most wins by an AL rookie.
Beltre had two hits and two RBIs for Seattle. The Mariners were denied a season-high fourth consecutive win and first three-game sweep of an AL team in their lost season.
Jarrod Washburn (5-11) allowed five hits and four runs three earned in six innings. He struck out six and walked three. Washburn has one win in his last six starts.
ANGELS 9, ORIOLES 4: At Anaheim, Calif., Vladimir Guerrero homered and drove in four runs, Garret Anderson had three hits and two RBIs, and the Angels rolled past the Orioles. Ervin Santana (13-5) allowed four runs and eight hits over seven innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. The first-time All-Star got as much run support in this outing as he did over his previous four starts combined, including a 5-2 loss at Camden Yards on July 27.
Baltimore's Luis Montanez homered on the second pitch he saw in the major leagues. The only other Orioles player to homer in his first big league at-bat was Les Narum on May 3, 1963.
Garrett Olson (8-6) lasted only 2 2-3 innings, allowing six runs and seven hits after throwing 117 pitches over 8 1-3 innings last Friday in a 10-5 win at Seattle.
BLUE JAYS 5, ATHLETICS 1: At Toronto, Rod Barajas hit a three-run homer, Shaun Marcum pitched seven strong innings and the Blue Jays extended the Athletics' season-long losing streak to nine games.
The Athletics are a major league-worst 2-16 since the All-Star break and have lost seven straight road games, a season high.
Marcum (6-5) allowed one run and three hits to win for the first time in four starts since missing 27 games with a sore right elbow. He walked two and struck out seven.
Gio Gonzalez (0-1) recovered nicely from a shaky first, retiring 16 of the next 17 batters. He was lifted after allowing four runs and four hits.
PIRATES 2, DIAMONDBACKS 0: At Phoenix, recently acquired right-hander Jeff Karstens set down his first 23 batters before Chris Young's two-out double in the eighth inning and finished with a two-hit shutout over Arizona. Karstens (2-0) has tossed 15 scoreless innings against a pair of first-place teams since coming to Pittsburgh in a six-player trade July 26 that sent outfielder Xavier Nady and reliever Damaso Marte to the New York Yankees. This masterpiece followed a 3-0 victory Friday over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The 25-year-old Karstens outpitched Randy Johnson, who tossed baseball's most recent perfect game in May 2004. Karstens also got his first two major league hits off the five-time Cy Young Award winner and scored on Doug Mientkiewicz's eighth-inning double.
Making his 11th career start and 17th appearance, Karstens struck out four and walked one.
Freddy Sanchez homered in the fourth off Johnson (9-8), who had his five-game winning streak snapped despite a strong outing.
CUBS 11, ASTROS 4: At Chicago, Mark DeRosa hit a grand slam and Alfonso Soriano had a three-run homer during an eight-run third inning that carried Chicago past Houston. DeRosa's fourth career slam made it 5-4 and propelled the Cubs to their ninth win in 11 games. The surging Soriano capped the burst with his second three-run shot in two days. He has 20 hits, six homers and 14 RBIs in his last 11 games after going 2-for-5 while driving in three runs.
DeRosa had two hits and drove in five runs after going 3-for-5 with three RBIs the previous day.
The Cubs roughed up Brandon Backe (6-11), who allowed a career-high 11 runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings. He walked six.
Jason Marquis (7-7) hit an RBI double and won for the first time since June 21.
Carlos Lee hit a three-run homer for Houston.
BREWERS 6, REDS 3: At Cincinnati, struggling leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks matched his career high with four hits, and the slumping bottom of Milwaukee's batting order chipped in, too, setting up a victory over Cincinnati.
The Brewers took two of three in a series that started with slugger Prince Fielder shoving pitcher Manny Parra in the dugout twice during a 6-3 loss Monday night, when Milwaukee's NL wild-card lead was trimmed to a half-game over St. Louis.
Fielder apologized a day later, and the Brewers were on their best behavior the rest of the way. They even managed to get some clutch hits, the thing they've missed the most during their recent slide of seven losses in 11 games.
Jeff Suppan (7-7) handled the Reds' free-swinging lineup for the third time this season, allowing an RBI groundout and a two-run homer by Jay Bruce. f-bEric Gagne struck out Edwin Encarnacion with two runners aboard to end the eighth. Salomon Torres pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 26 chances.
Weeks drove in a pair of runs with his second single off Homer Bailey (0-6).
GIANTS 3, BRAVES 2: At San Francisco, Tim Lincecum (12-3) pitched eight innings for his first win in more than three weeks and Aaron Rowand homered and drove in three runs to help San Francisco beat Atlanta. Randy Winn added four hits for the Giants, including the 1,500th of his career, and scored twice for the Giants. San Francisco won for the fourth time in six games after going 4-8 following the All-Star break.
Brian Wilson pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 32nd save in 34 chances.
Lincecum (12-3) is 11-2 in 19 starts following a Giants loss. The NL strikeout leader allowed five hits and struck out eight to earn his first win since July 13.
San Francisco did all its damage early against Chuck James (2-5), making his second start since being called up from the minors last week.
PHILLIES 5, MARLINS 0: At Philadelphia, Kyle Kendrick pitched six effective innings, Ryan Howard homered and first-place Philadelphia beat Florida to move 2 1/2 games ahead of the Marlins in the NL East. Kendrick (10-5) allowed four hits and pitched around five walks to win at home for the first time since beating Cincinnati on June 2. He matched his win total from his rookie year when he came from nowhere last season and bailed out a depleted staff to help the Phillies win the division.
Chad Durbin tossed two scoreless innings and Ryan Madson finished the five-hitter.
Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez (1-1) gave up four runs three earned and five hits in five innings in his second start since returning from shoulder surgery.
Howard, who also doubled, is tied with Adam Dunn for the major league lead with 32 homers.
PADRES 4, METS 2: At New York, Jody Gerut hit Pedro Martinez's first pitch for a home run and Mets third baseman David Wright committed a costly error, helping San Diego beat New York. Cha Seung Baek (4-5) stymied the Mets again, allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts against New York this season.
Brian Giles and Chase Headley also homered for the last-place Padres, who improved to 5-1 against the Mets this year. Trevor Hoffman worked a perfect ninth for career save No. 548, his 24th in 27 opportunities this season.
Martinez (3-3) allowed four hits and three runs, two earned, in 6 1-3 innings his longest outing this season.
CARDINALS 9, DODGERS 6: At St. Louis, Ryan Ludwick homered for the fifth straight game to tie a franchise record, and Albert Pujols hit a grand slam for the Cardinals. Manny Ramirez hit his 513th homer run in the second inning to break a tie with Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 20th place on the career list.
Ramirez added an RBI single in the third to give the Dodgers an early 3-1 lead, and is batting .600 (12-for-20) with three homers and six RBIs in five games since joining the Dodgers.