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Rays closer Grant Balfour critical of booing fans

Grant Balfour (Brian Blanco/Getty Images) Grant Balfour has a 3.37 ERA in 11 big league seasons. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

When Rays closer Grant Balfour blew the save in the ninth inning of Thursday night's game against the Athletics, he was showered with boos from whatever was left of the announced crowd of 11,257 at Tropicana Field — and he wasn't happy about it.

"Everybody's got to be pulling for the team," the 36-year-old told reporters after the game. "You can't be back and forth like that.

"The fans can boo me and all that [stuff], but that's fine. It's not going to help me out. It's not going to help the team do anything out there when you do that [stuff]. The feeling is, the team's behind you and everybody's behind you — the crowd, the whole nine yards. Things are going to go right.

"But when you start pulling that [stuff], it's not a good vibe. The team's pulling for the team, so the fans got to be pulling for the team. That [stuff] doesn't work. So I'll just walk away positive from it. It's a good win. A much-needed win."

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The Rays (20-28) won the game 5-2 in 11 innings to snap a four-game losing streak.

Balfour returned to the Rays on a two-year deal this offseason after three seasons in Oakland, but has struggled in his second go-around with Tampa Bay. He is 0-1 with a 5.89 ERA in 18 appearances, with eight saves in 10 chances.

A 2013 All-Star, Balfour leads American League relievers with 18 walks. He has only 15 strikeouts.

"[Stuff] happens. I'm not going to sit here and cry about it," Balfour said. "I would have liked to have closed it out. It would have been easier to get a 1-2-3 [inning]."
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