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Figueroa records first career hit in hit-and-run

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays second baseman Cole Figueroa recorded his first Major League hit in Tampa Bay's 5-2, 11-inning win against the A's on Thursday night.

Figueroa slapped an opposite-field single through the left side on a hit-and-run in the seventh inning. Naturally, he saved the baseball.

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"It felt really good," Figueroa said after the game. "I got the sign, and I was actually pretty happy about it because it's kind of mindless when I get in situational stuff."

The hit set up the Rays' first run, as Yunel Escobar proceeded to drive in Desmond Jennings, who had advanced to third on Figueroa's single.

That run was set up to be the game-winner before closer Grant Balfour blew the save in the ninth inning.

Rays manager Joe Maddon, of course, was pleased that Figueroa executed the hit-and-run.

"That's tremendous. Hit-and-run, he put it right in the hole. Well done," Maddon said. "The thing about a guy like Cole -- even though he's a novice here, you're not afraid to ask him to do things. He's very sharp, he's bright, he knows, he sees things.

"So I really felt confident he would not miss the sign, in other words."

David Adler is an associate reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays, Cole Figueroa