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Rays owner Sternberg expecting the unexpected

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg took a few minutes during batting practice to talk about Jose Lobaton's walk-off homer Monday night and the attendance for Tuesday night's Game 4 at Tropicana Field.

Sternberg called Lobaton's walk-off homer against Red Sox closer Koji Uehara "absolutely the most unexpected moment" and one of the most surprising hits in recent franchise history -- no small amount of praise considering the heroics of Dan Johnson and Evan Longoria in 2008 and 2011, respectively.

More than anything, Sternberg said, he was pleased that Lobaton's solo shot prevented Boston from sweeping Tampa Bay, something that would have been "unbelievably embarrassing," he said.

As for his Game 4 prediction? He's once again expecting the unexpected.

"Most people don't expect us to be in Boston. They might think we can win the game, but jeez, it could actually get back to Boston? So I actually feel good about that," Sternberg said. "It's more about human nature. Life has a way of doing the thing that most people least expect."

The Rays' owner said he expected another sold-out crowd for Game 4. A few hours before first pitch, Sternberg said, there were only a couple hundred tickets still available. Of course, given the Rays' well-documented attendance issues at Tropicana Field and their success when playing in front of big home crowds, Sternberg was asked if he wished Tampa Bay could sell out on a more regular basis.

"I think if it was like that, I wouldn't have to think about the stadium thing. I wouldn't have to talk about it," Sternberg said. "I wouldn't have to spend time, money and energy dealing with it. That's the most important part."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.
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