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Old 05-31-2006, 07:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Rays' Rally Falls Inches Short

It was a play Greg Norton needed to see again to believe.

Moments earlier Tuesday night, Norton stepped to the plate to pinch hit with the Devil Rays down to their final out against the Orioles. He hit a towering fly ball to deep left-center field at Camden Yards, where balls had been flying out of the ballpark all night in the humid Baltimore air.

"I thought it was gone because of the way it sounded," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, thinking the funk of being dealt a four-game sweep in Boston was dissipating. "It sounded really good when it left. It had that real click to it, and I thought, 'You've got it.'"

But that's when Orioles center fielder Corey Patterson - in mid-stride - leaped and reached over the wall, robbing Norton of a two-run, game-tying homer. Patterson pulled the ball back in play, preventing it from landing in the Orioles' bullpen and handing the Rays a 7-5 loss - their fifth in a row.

Minutes after the game, Norton's eyes were transfixed on the team's scouting computers, watching Patterson's game-saving catch again.

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