Pena, Longoria go yard in Rays win over Athletics

BY foxsports • July 11, 2009

Jeff Niemann didn't win his spot in Tampa Bay's rotation until the end of spring training. It's turning out that late decision was a good one.

Niemann pitched a seven-hitter and the Rays got home runs from Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria in a 6-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.

"He's probably pitching his best professional baseball right now, including all of his minor league stuff," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "He's just gaining confidence. He was in total command."

Niemann (8-4), the Rays' No. 5 starter, has two shutouts this season. The 6-foot-9 right-hander, who is 6-1 over his last 10 starts, allowed two hits in a 2-0 win over Kansas City on June 3.

"It's good, but it's only halfway through," Niemann said. "We have another three months left, so you can't get too happy or contented."

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