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Mets Vs. Rays: New York Pulls Off Sweep With 9-6 Win

The Tampa Bay Rays entered their series against the New York Mets with a narrow lead in the American League East. Their three-game series against the Mets has concluded, and that lead is gone. The Rays dropped their third straight game and got swept in the process on Thursday afternoon, as the Mets earned a 9-6 win.

Tampa now trails the New York Yankees, who have not lost in their last six games, but 2.5 games in the AL East. They finally got their bats going on Thursday after a couple of bad hitting performances against Chris Young and R.A. Dickey, but Jeremy Hellickson couldn't take advantage of the run support his team produced, as he gave up eight earned runs in three-plus innings of work.

The Mets and Rays were tied 4-4 heading to the top of the fourth inning when the Mets exploded offensively for four runs. That appeared to give the previously shaky Johan Santana a bit of a boost, and he went on to complete scoreless fourth and fifth innings before he was pulled.

Both bullpens pitched well until the 9th inning, when Fernando Rodney and Miguel Batista both gave up runs. Rodney gave up one, sending the Rays to the bottom of the inning trailing by five runs. The Rays attempted to rally and knocked in two runs off Batista, but Frank Fransisco came in and closed out the game before things got too dramatic for the Mets.

For more on the Rays, visit DRaysBay, SB Nation's Tampa Bay Rays blog. Head over to Amazin' Avenue for all things Mets. Baseball Nation has you covered for everything around Major League Baseball.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.