ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – One pitch after an error prolonged his at-bat, Gabe Kapler hit a pinch-hit home run that snapped an eighth-inning tie and gave the Tampa Bay Rays a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

Kapler, mired in a 3-for-31 slump that dropped his batting average to .234, went deep against Ron Villone (3-2) after first baseman Nick Johnson dropped a pop foul that would have been the third out.

J.P. Howell (2-2), the fourth Tampa Bay pitcher, worked 1 1-3 innings to get the victory that moved Tampa Bay (32-31) one game over .500.

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