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Upton powers Rays past Mets

B J UPTON drove in four runs as the Tampa Bay Rays pounded the New York Mets 10-6 in a rain-delayed interleague game on Sunday.

Upton, who had four hits and scored three runs, leveled the score at 2-2 with a two-run double in the fifth inning. He then put Tampa Bay ahead to stay with a two-run homer in the seventh.

"It's starting to come around, slowly but surely," Upton, who tied a career high with his four RBIs, told reporters. "Just have to stick with it and keep doing what I'm doing."

Tampa Bay claimed the series by winning their second consecutive game over the Mets.

"When BJ gets going - leadoff hitter, whoever's in the spot - when they get going early, it gives the guys a little more confidence," said Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria, who also had four hits.

The Rays, the defending American League champions, shelled seven Mets pitchers for 17 hits in a game delayed by rain for 34 minutes in the seventh inning.

Tampa Bay scored four runs to take the lead in the fifth inning and tallied four more in the seventh after the National League Mets had taken a 5-4 lead on Brian Schneider's three-run homer in the sixth.

"After we gave up the homer to Schneider and put them back on top, our guys really responded well," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "And BJ's home run was magnificent."

Maddon said another big moment was Willy Aybar's pinch-hit single in the fifth, when the Rays trailed 0-2.

"That turned the tide right around," Maddon said of the hit, which loaded the bases. "That gave us a strong sense of believing right there and it put them in a totally different mindset."

Upton followed with his two-run double to tie the score.

Carl Crawford added three hits for the Rays, while David Wright collected three of New York's 10 hits.

In Kansas City, Missouri, Albert Pujols finished off a three-day romp in Kansas City with two homers and six RBIs to help the St. Louis Cardinals rout the Royals 12-5 in win No. 2,500 for manager Tony La Russa.

Pujols made a mockery of Kansas City pitching in his return to the town where he went to high school, hitting three homers and driving in 10 runs in the Cardinals' three-game sweep over their cross-state rivals.

The two-time National League MVP had four hits on Sunday and delivered the decisive blow in the Cardinals' eight-run fourth inning, pounding his club record-tying third grand slam of the season. He also had a run-scoring single in the first and added his major league-leading 26th homer in the fifth to put the Cardinals up 12-4.

Pujols matched Stan Musial's team record of nine career slams. His fifth multihomer game this season helped La Russa join Connie Mack (3,831) and John McGraw (2,763) as the only managers with 2,500 victories.

In other action, it was: Orioles 2, Phillies 1; Red Sox 6, Braves 5; Marlins 6, Yankees 5; Tigers 3, Brewers 2; White Sox 4, Reds 1; Blue Jays 9, Nationals 4; Astros 4, Twins 1; Cubs 6, Indians 2; Padres 4, Athletics 1; Giants 3, Rangers 2; Mariners 3, Diamondbacks 2; and Dodgers 5, Angels 3.

In the only National League action in Denver, Clint Barmes homered, drove in two runs and scored two more as surging Colorado completed a sweep of Pittsburgh for its 16th victory in 17 games. The Rockies won 5-4.

Since having their 11-game winning streak snapped, the Rockies have won five straight.


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