Escobar, Rays rally past Tigers
ST. PETERSBURG - At any level, losing doesn't sit well.
Entering Saturday night's game against the Tigers, the Rays had lost 15 of their previous 19 games against Detroit, including three of four meetings this season. They were also riding a two-game skid.
But on this night, the Rays thrilled the 23,809 in attendance at Tropicana Field with a come-from-behind 4-3 win.
In the bottom of the 10th inning with two outs, Yunel Escobar sent a 2-0 pitch over Austin Jackson's head in center field to score pinch-runner Sam Fuld from third for the walk-off win. It was the Rays' fifth walk-off win this season and the fifth career walk-off hit for Escobar, his previous coming in 2011.
Loney, who was replaced by Fuld, and Wil Myers each singled and moved up on a wild pitch by Bruce Rondon, who took the loss.
Fernando Rodney (3-2) pitched two innings to earn the win.
“I'm very happy to be able to help the team win today,” Escobar said through an interpeter. “I've been swinging the bat well and seeing the ball good and all I want to do is to continue to help us win.”
Escobar was 1-for-3 with a walk before his 10th-inning heroics.
“I just wanted to make good, hard contact and stay in the middle of the field,” Escobar said.
Rodney's two innings were a season high. He had two strikoeuts, including one against Miguel Cabrera.
“We took advantage of a couple of plays. (Ben Zobrist) got good hits, Loney got on base and in the same inning Escobar got a good piece of hitting,” Rodney said.
Detroit did its damage in the third, starting with a leadoff home run from Austin Jackson on an 0-1 pitch.
Cabrera and Victor Martinez each singled and moved up on a wild pitch, one of three Rays starter Chris Archer threw on the night. Jhonny Peralta scored both runners with a two-run single.
Luke Scott hit a solo home run to right off Justin Verlander in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 3.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said the victory was a glimpse of what the club needs to be — and can be — the remainder of the season.
“That's what we have to be,” he said. “We have to be that group right there. We have to be that team in order to win, meaning getting to the playoffs and beyond, you have to demonstrate that. There can never be any quit. This group has that within them.”
Said Escobar: “At this point, we're at the midway point and we have to win as many games as we can. Knowing Evan (Longoria) is out for a little while, I want to do the best I can to help produce and try to win as many games before the All-Star break.”
Desmond Jennings started the Rays' comeback in the third with a leadoff triple, then scored on Zobrist's grounder to second base.
Loney made it a one-run game in the bottom of the fifth with a single to right that scored Matt Joyce, who reached on a error and moved to third on a hit by Zobrist.
Down 3-2, the Rays had a chance to tie it in the bottom of the seventh when Joyce walked and advanced to third on Zobrist's third hit of the game, but Loney hit into a 4-6-3 douple play to end the threat.
Verlander pitched eight innings, allowing seven hits and four strikeouts.
In his first career appearance against Detroit, Archer pitched five innings and allowed three runs, all earned, on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.