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Rays' Niemann beats White Sox, remains unbeaten

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford homered for the Tampa Bay Rays, helping right-hander Jeff Niemann remain unbeaten with a 5-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.

Niemann (5-0) limited the White Sox to singles by Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham before giving up a solo homer to Mark Teahen, leading off the eighth inning. He walked three and struck out five before Randy Choate and Dan Wheeler finished the four-hitter with a scoreless ninth.

Crawford hit a solo homer in the first and also drove in a run off Gavin Floyd (2-5) with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly. Longoria's solo shot off the Chicago starter put Tampa Bay ahead 3-0 in the sixth.

The Rays snapped a three-game losing streak, improving baseball's best record to 33-15.

They only managed four hits off Floyd over seven innings. But it didn't matter with the White Sox sputtering offensively in their first game since manager Ozzie Guillen's expletive-filled postgame rant about umpire Joe West in Cleveland.

Guillen and pitcher Mark Buehrle were ejected by West for protesting a pair of balks during a victory over the Indians on Wednesday.

The manager said before Thursday's game that he spoke his mind about West's handling of the ejections but did not feel he did anything to warrant harsh disciplinary action.

"I say what I feel. I don't think I say anything to disrepect anybody or the game. If Major League Baseball will do something, they know where to find me," Guillen said.

"I don't think it should be anything to make a big deal about it," he added. "We'll wait and see."

Guillen said there were no hard feelings.

"I think Joe is one of the best umpires in the game, there's no doubt. I'm the type of guy, no matter what happened yesterday, to me it's another day," the manager said. "I'm not going to hold any grudges against him."

A close call that went against the White Sox in the fifth inning brought Guillen out of the dugout again Thursday.

This time, he mildly protested to umpire Eric Cooper that Teahen, the third baseman, had put a good tag on Rays runner Sean Rodriguez, who advanced on a pop fly that was caught in foul territory.

Rodriguez scored, making it 2-0, on Crawford's sacrifice fly. Longoria's 10th homer gave Niemann a three-run lead, and Hank Blalock's two-run single off Scott Linebrink made it 5-1 in the eighth.

NOTES: Guillen will miss Friday night's game to attend his son's high school graduation in Miami. Ozney Guillen has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at South Florida. ... Slumping Rays CF B.J. Upton was out of the starting lineup for the second straight night, a break manager Joe Maddon hopes will enable Upton, who's batting .210, to "resettle" and stop pressing at the plate. He entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth and is set to return to the starting lineup Friday. ... Tampa Bay LHP David Price (7-1) will go for his AL-leading eighth win Friday. The White Sox handed him his only loss April 20 in Chicago.