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Maddon loving production from lineup

Maddon loving production from lineup

CLEVELAND -- Sitting above a dugout floor flooded with rain, Joe Maddon became giddy. The manager was asked about the production from his lineup, and he started rattling off a list of players who have contributed to the Rays' recent offensive surge.

"What Kelly [Johnson] has done has been outstanding," Maddon said long before the Rays earned a 9-2 win over the Indians in a game that ended at 2:55 a.m. ET Saturday morning. "Luke Scott has really picked it up. [Yunel] Escobar has had a great month also. [Desmond] Jennings is starting to come back a bit in the sixth or seventh hole."

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Since April 17 (entering Friday), the Rays have scored 5.6 runs per game, the top mark in baseball, and rank fourth in the Majors in home runs, third in batting average and second in on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

On Monday, Maddon maneuvered some pieces in the lineup, moving Jennings out of the leadoff hole and into a lower slot, inserting Johnson into the third spot and bumping Ben Zobrist into the No. 1 hole. In the four games since, the Rays have scored 25 runs and the trio of players he rearranged has combined to bat .409 with a 1.168 OPS.

"Up and down the lineup, we've been getting good work out of other guys," Maddon said. "It's wonderful when everybody is contributing like that. That's truly the way you do win big."

Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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