ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Brett Phillips hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays came back from a three-run deficit in the ninth to beat the Detroit Tigers 7-4 on Friday night.
The Rays maintained their 8 1/2-game lead in the AL East over Boston. The New York Yankees are nine back.
“That game, the way it was going was going to be very frustrating,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “For whatever reason, the guys have had a knack of getting hot late in ballgames and they did again today.”
Tampa Bay leads the majors with 298 runs in the seventh inning or later.
Taylor Walls drew a leadoff walk in the 10th from Bryan Garcia (2-2) before Phillips sent a 3-1 pitch into the right-field seats.
Phillips walked toward first base with his bat before flipping it into the air. He airplaned around the bases and jumped onto the backstop after crossing the plate to celebrate with fans.
“I think the best part of it was the ninth when our boys tied it up and allowed me to do that and celebrate that in the 10th,” Phillips said. “That’s just one of those moments, you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re just celebrating. You’re excited, you’re happy.”
Gregory Soto, the fifth Detroit reliever, got his pitching hand on Manuel Margot’s head-high line drive leading off the ninth that went for an infield single. He stayed in the game with the Tigers ahead 4-1 and walked Francisco Mejía before Brandon Lowe singled to load the bases.
“We’ll check him out and make sure he’s OK,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said of Soto, who will have X-rays and other tests. “It’s a shame we couldn’t finish it off tonight.”
Michael Fulmer replaced Soto and gave up a two-run single to pinch-hitter Yandy Díaz. Lowe advanced to third on a wild pitch, and Randy Arozarena tied it at 4 on a sacrifice fly.
“That’s what it’s going to take down the stretch, that’s what it’s going to take in the playoffs — unselfish at-bats,” Phillips said. “Getting on base and letting the next guy be a hero.”
Andrew Kittredge (9-3) worked a hitless 10th.
Akil Baddoo hit his first career leadoff homer for the Tigers, coming on the third pitch from Luis Patiño.
Lowe took away a run-scoring hit from Baddoo with a diving grab at second base on his 10th-inning grounder.
Tampa Bay tied it in the first when Austin Meadows picked up his 100th RBI on a sacrifice fly. He is the first Rays player to reach the milestone since Evan Longoria (104) in 2010.
Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth. Cash said Kiermaier hasn’t been feeling well.
Niko Goodrum had an RBI double during a two-run second. Harold Castro’s third-inning sacrifice fly put the Tigers up 4-1.
Detroit rookie Casey Mize, on an innings limit, allowed one run and three hits over three innings.
Tigers reliever Derek Holland left with two outs in the fifth but was OK after being struck by Ji-Man Choi’s liner just above his rear end.
Patiño stayed in the game after Castro’s sixth-inning liner went off his glove and hit the side of his face. The right-hander gave up four runs and six hits in six innings.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera went 2 for 4 and moved within 22 hits of 3,000. He had an infield single in the first and a base hit in the third, and is 14 for 38 (.368) over his last 11 games.
Rays standout rookie INF Wander Franco (right hamstring) looked good running the infield arc from first to third base, took on-field batting practice and fielded grounders at shortstop.
Cash said Franco, eligible to come off the injured list Tuesday, should be back around that time.
Tigers: Hinch said it wouldn’t be known if José Luis Cisnero (right elbow laceration) will return this season until after the stitches are removed in a week or so.
Rays: DH Nelson Cruz, hit on the right forearm by a pitch Thursday, was out of the lineup but could start on Saturday.
Detroit LHP Tarik Skubal (8-12) and Rays LHP Ryan Yarbrough (8-5) are Saturday’s scheduled starters.