ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Osleivis Basabe hit a grand slam for his first major league homer, capping off a nine-run eighth inning for the AL wild card-leading Tampa Bay Rays, who beat the Colorado Rockies 12-4 on Tuesday night.
Basabe is filling at shortstop for Wander Franco, who is on MLB’s administrative list while authorities in the Dominican Republic investigate him for an alleged relationship with a minor.
After the Rays loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth against Brent Suter (4-1), pinch-hitter Christian Bethancourt delivered an RBI single to tie it before Yandy Díaz made it 5-4 on his run-scoring base hit. Díaz went 3 for 5 in his career-best fifth straight multi-hit game, raising his AL-leading average to .328.
Randy Arozarena added a two-run single off Daniel Bard that went off left fielder Nolan Jones’ glove, and Isaac Paredes drove in a run with a double. Bard then hit Jose Siri with a pitch to load the bases and bring up Basabe, who took him deep to left field to put the Rays ahead by eight.
“Now I’m very happy that it came out that way,” Basabe said through a translator. “I didn’t expect it to be so soon since I’m not really much of a home run hitter.”
Basabe is the third Tampa Bay player to hit a grand slam for his first homer, joining Wil Myers (2013) and Jorge Velandia (2007).
“That was pretty cool, pretty cool moment for him,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
The Rays have scored 30 runs over a two-game span, a franchise record. Tampa Bay beat the Los Angeles Angels 18-4 in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Rays went 8 for 20 with runners in scoring position.
Andrew Kittredge (1-0) worked a scoreless eighth to get his win since returning from Tommy John surgery this month.
NL-worst Colorado has lost nine of 12. The Rockies allowed seven runs in the eighth inning of a 10-5 loss Sunday to the Chicago White Sox.
“It’s frustrating, right?” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “You get in position to win games, so it’s frustrating for all of us.”
Díaz put the Rays up 3-2 with his run-scoring single off Ty Blach in the fourth.
Elias Díaz ended Zack Littell’s night with a game-tying sixth-inning RBI single. Colorado then went ahead 4-3 when Brendan Rodgers scored from third when reliever Colin Poche threw a wild pitch on his first pitch.
Jones got his first career triple on an opposite-field 170-foot flare down the left-field line and scored on Jurickson Profar’s sacrifice fly before Michael Toglia hit a solo homer as the Rockies took a 2-1 lead in the second.
Blach allowed three runs and seven hits over four-plus innings. Littell gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The announced crowd was 10,235. Tampa Bay started the day with the majors’ fourth-lowest home attendance average at 18,191.
Colorado RF Charlie Blackmon doubled in the first and has a hit in seven consecutive games since returning from a right hand injury that sidelined him for just over two months.
Rockies: RHP Ryan Feltner (skull fracture and concussion) will throw his second and third batting practice sessions this week at the team’s spring training complex in Arizona. He was hit in the area above the right ear by a liner from Philadelphia’s Nick Castellanos on May 13.
Rays: Cash said ace Shane McClanahan’s Tommy John surgery on Monday went well. … SS Taylor Walls (left oblique strain) missed his 26th straight game but could be back late this month.
Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (9-9) and Rays RHP Aaron Civale (6-3) are Wednesday night’s starters.