10/09/10 11:14 PM ET
Tidbits from Rays' Game 3
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Despite John Jaso's passed ball, the Rays played solid defensively in Game 3, with Carl Crawford making a pair of nice catches, and Ben Zobrist and Jason Bartlett each making defensive gems. "That is the strength of our ballclub, defense," Crawford said. "We play defense and that's what we have been doing all year. The bats are struggling, [but] that's the one thing you tell yourself to do, try to play defense every day. And we did a good job of it tonight."
Rays hitters had 11 hits on Saturday, which were three more than what they had in the first two games of the American League Division Series. Game 3 starter Matt Garza was asked to explain his team's offensive spurt on Saturday. "I don't know," Garza said. "It is what it is. The thing we count on is pitching and defense, and on offense, timely hitting. That's what we've been doing all year. We might not [be too impressive] with our batting average, but we score a lot of runs and we can do it in waves."
Crawford's leadoff long ball in the ninth off Neftali Feliz was his third career postseason home run after hitting a pair of homers in the 2008 World Series against Philadelphia.
Joaquin Benoit earned the victory Saturday in his first career postseason appearance, which came against his former team. He retired all five batters he faced.
B.J. Upton tied the game at 1 with a two-out RBI double in the sixth. He now has 17 career postseason RBIs, the most in franchise history. Prior to Upton's double, the Rays had been 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position since Evan Longoria's first-inning single loaded the bases against Cliff Lee in Game 1.
Manager Joe Maddon complimented Garza for keeping the Rays in the game Saturday. "Without Garza pitching the way he did, it doesn't happen," Maddon said. "That's the way we have been all year, very good starting pitching."
Carlos Pena said he just missed the 3-1 pitch he hit that resulted in an inning-ending flyout in the fourth with two aboard. "I felt really good on that swing," Pena said. "In fact, when I hit it, I thought it might have had a chance and it just hung up there and never really materialized in to what I wanted it to be, which was a three-run homer."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.