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(Saturday, June 23rd)
Final Score: Philadelphia 7, Tampa Bay 6
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Pinch-hitter Jim Thome's homer in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Philadelphia Phillies over the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-6, on Saturday.
Jonathan Papelbon (2-2) blew his first save of the season in the top of the ninth after giving up two runs. But Thome led off the bottom of the frame with a blast to left off Jake McGee (2-2) to make Papelbon the winning pitcher.
Thome became the all-time leader in the modern era (1900-present) with 13 walk-off homers.
"These are moments you never know how long you'll have them," Thome said.
Juan Pierre hit a three-run homer for the Phillies, who have won three of four since a three-game skid. Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run home run and Carlos Ruiz had an RBI.
Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick gave up three runs -- two earned -- on six hits over four innings.
Jeff Keppinger, who was activated from the disabled list on Friday, went 5- for-5 with three RBI and a run scored. James Shields, Sean Rodriguez and Brooks Conrad each knocked in a run.
Shields allowed five runs on seven hits in a five-inning start. He struck out seven and walked one.
"We've been giving it up a little bit, and we have not gotten it on our side," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "And that will come back to us."
Rain derailed the opener of this three-game series Friday, causing a day-night doubleheader to be played Sunday.
Papelbon came into the game with a 6-4 lead. With one out, Hideki Matsui singled to center. Jose Lobaton walked two batters later to put men on first and second with two outs. Keppinger and Conrad followed with back-to-back RBI singles to right to tie the game.
But Thome crushed a fastball over the wall in left for his 609th career homer, moving him into a tie with Sammy Sosa for seventh place on baseball's all-time list.
"He loves to hit," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Thome. "The more you like it, the better you can do it."
The Rays scored three runs in the second. With one out, Ben Zobrist singled and Lobaton walked. Keppinger followed with a two-run double down the left- field line. Keppinger moved to third on Michael Martinez's throwing error and scored on Shields' groundout.
The Phillies got two runs back in the third. Kendrick led off with a walk and crossed the plate on Rollins' homer to right. The home team left men on the corners later in the inning.
Pierre's homer in the fourth put Philadelphia in front. With two outs, pinch- hitter Mike Fontenot and Rollins hit back-to-back singles. Pierre stepped to the plate and smacked Shields' offering over the wall in right for a 5-3 lead.
Pierre scored a run in the seventh to give Philadelphia a 6-3 margin. Pierre hit a grounder under the glove of second baseman Zobrist. Pierre used his speed to reach second on the error. After stealing third, Pierre scored on Ruiz's bloop single to right.
Tampa Bay got the run back in the eighth. Antonio Bastardo, who recorded the final out in the seventh, gave up singles to Zobrist, Lobaton and Keppinger to load the bases with no outs. After pinch-hitter Conrad struck out swinging, Rodriguez hit an RBI single to left. Bastardo kept his cool on the mound and retired the next two batters to keep it a 6-4 game.
Manuel recorded his 900th career win...Philadelphia pitcher Michael Stutes will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Tuesday...The Rays had 14 hits, compared to nine for the Phillies.
06/23 22:16:04 ET
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