Rays Overcome Three Deficits Before Falling To Nationals In 11 Innings

On Wednesday night Shane McLanahan had his shortest outing since joining the Rays rotation. (Tampa Bay Rays)

ST. PETERSBURG — Winning at home and in extra innings are among the very few things the Rays have not done so well this season.

A 9-7 loss in 11 innings to Washington on Wednesday night dropped the Rays to 3-5 in extra innings and 16-14 at Tropicana Field.

The Rays, who overcame three two-run deficits to take the lead or tie the game, remain 1.5 games up on the Red Sox, who lost to Houston.

“Very encouraged with how the guys kept coming back and coming back,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “We did everything in our power to win the ballgame. Very pleased with how we went at it, but just fell short.” 

With the score knotted at seven, a run-scoring double by Starlin Castro and Josh Harrison’s sacrifice fly gave the Nationals the lead for good.

The Rays had runners on first and second with nobody out in their half of the 11th, but Washington’s Tanner Rainey got the next three batters. He struck out Austin Meadows to end the game.

Trailing 7-5 in the 10th, Randy Arozarena’s triple and Joey Wendle’s single brought home runs to knot the score and send the game into the 11th. 

The Rays had an opportunity to win it in the ninth. Tied at five, Mike Zunino pinch hit for Brett Phillips and drew a four-pitch walk off of Brad Hand. Kevin Kiermaier pinch ran for Zunino and stole second with two outs and Yandy Diaz at the plate. Diaz was intentionally walked to set up a lefty-on-lefty matchup between Hand and Meadows. Meadows, hitting .170 against lefties, fanned to end the threat.

After falling behind 5-3 in the fifth, the Rays tied it up thanks to the long ball.

Taylor Walls led off the seventh with his first career home run, a no-doubt-about-it blast into the right field seats. Joey Wendle’s first career pinch-hit home run, and seventh of the season, with one out in the eighth tied it at 5-5.

USF product Shane McClanahan started for the Rays and had his shortest outing since being called up in April. The lefty went three innings (77 pitches) and allowed five hits, three walks and three runs, all earned.

“I didn’t make the pitches tonight and it is what it is,” said McClanahan. “What I learned from tonight are first-pitch strikes and I didn’t do a good job with that tonight.”

Tom Layberger has been a sports writer and editor since 1990. Among the companies he has worked for are Beckett Publishing, The Topps Company and Comcast. In addition to being a contributing writer for sportstalkflorida.com, Tom also writes for forbes.com and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth Magazine. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs and a University of South Florida grad, Tom is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. He resides in Tampa.