Rays Comeback From Down 3 In 8th, Defeat Tigers 5-4Follow @Steve_Kinsella1
Tampa Bay’s offense was stymied by Matt Boyd who matched a season high seven innings allowing just one run on just two hits. The Tigers had built a 4-1 lead as the game entered the eighth inning but the Tigers bullpen was unable to close it out as Ji-Man Choi delivered a walk-off single giving Tampa Bay a 5-4 victory.
Tommy Pham pulled the Rays to within 4-3 with his 18th homer of the season. It was the Rays first home run in 37 innings going back to Pham’s 2-run blast against the San Diego Padres in the first inning Tuesday.
Jose Alvarado opened the ninth for the Rays and walked Jake Rogers. Gordan Beckham squared to bunt but the ball was in the dirt and d’Arnaud dug it out and fired to first to pickoff Rogers. Beckham eventually walked and was erased on a a fielders choice on a Victor Reyes groundball that should have been a double play but Sogards relay throw to first pulled Ji-Man Choi off the bag.
The defensive issues continued for Tampa Bay as Reyes moved into scoring position when Willy Adames couldn’t field Dawel Lugo‘s chopper cleanly and was charged with an error. To Alvarado’s credit, he didn’t get consumed by the mistakes behind him and struck out Harold Castro to retire the Tigers and keep the deficit at just one run.
Joe Jimenez came into work the ninth inning and was victimized by poor defense when Travis d’Arnaud sent a grounder to shortstop Gordon Beckham whose throw pulled Brandon Dixon off the bag. Jimenez didn’t help himself issuing a walk to Willy Adames to move d’Arnaud into scoring position.
Kevin Kiermaier was summoned to pinch hit for Jesus Aguilar and his popped out to short attempting to bunt for the first out. Michael Brosseau followed with a groundball to the hole in short that Gordon Beckham fielded but was unable to record an out.
With the bases loaded and 1-out, Ji-Man Choi delivered the walk-off 2-RBI single to give the Rays a 5-4 victory. It was his second career walk-off hit with the first coming on a 2-run homer off Brad Hand of the Cleveland Indians on September 10, 2018.
Jose Alvarado (1-5, 4.76 ERA) picks up his first win of the season and the Rays improve to 73-52 and take the season series against the Tigers 4-2.
“You can’t do it too many times. At some point, we’re going to have to get a lead for our pitchers a little bit and let the work with a little bit of room ot wiggle out of.” Cash said about the back-to-back walk-off wins. “Certainly, we will take these two at this time of the season. Any win you can get is importatn and these two have been really big.”
Good teams find a way to win, that was a recurring sentiment in the clubhouse. “The good teams, when they’re down, they don’t give up and they find ways to win.” Travis d’Arnaud said. “It’s huge to get this series win against the Tigers, four out of six, so that’s really big for us.”
Tommy Pham also said, “Good teams find a way to win and that’s exactly what we did.”
It was the fifth walk-off win of the season and the first time they have won back-to-back games in walk-off fashion since May 20 through 22 (Oakland/Boston 3-straight). They have recorded walk-off wins in three of their last five home victories.
Tampa Bay improves to 7-2 over their last 9 games, and 14-4 over their past 18.
Joe Jimenez (3-7, 4.82 ERA) blew his fifth save of the season in taking the loss for the Tigers who fall to 37-84 on the season.
After Rays pitchers struck out 37 batters without issuing a walk in the first two games of the series, Trevor Richards walked Victor Reyes to leadoff the game. Reyes scored two batters later when Harold Castro lined a homer to left on a 3-1 count giving Detroit a quick 2-0 lead. It was Castro’s eighth homer of the season and the 17th given up by Richards in 112+ innings of work.
Tampa Bay answered the Tigers in the bottom of the first scoring a run on a Travis d’Arnaud sacrifice fly that scored Tommy Pham who led the game off with a single from third.
The Rays cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth when Tommy Pham belted a 2-run homer off Buck Farmer. It was his 18th homer of the season and the Rays first in 37 innings. The last homer hit by a Rays player was by Pham in the bottom of the first on Wednesday afternoon in San Diego.
Richards made 20 starts for Miami posting a 3-12 mark with a 4.62 ERA spanning 109 innings of work. On July 21st he was moved to the bullpen where he made three scoreless appearances of an inning apiece.
Since the trade he’s made two three starts with the Durham Bulls allowing one earned run in 5.1-innings of work.
In his first start with the Rays he worked 3.1-innings allowing two earned runs on eight hits while striking out six and walking one. He threw 71 pitches with 51 for strikes.
“I thought he was okay. I’m glad he got his pitch count up. We are going to see a better Trevor Richards than that, but certainly encouraged the way he went out their and competed.” Manager Kevin Cash said of Richards performance.
Tampa Bay will welcome in the Seattle Mariners for their only visit to Tropicana Field this season for a three game set beginning Monday night at 7:10. Brendan McKay (2-2, 5.08 ERA) will open the series for Tampa Bay. Seattle will counter with Marco Gonzalez (12-10, 4.26 ERA).