ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays led by one run in the eighth inning Monday and with RHP Brad Boxberger having already pitched and RHP Joel Peralta unavailable because of his recent workload, manager Joe Maddon turned to rookie LHP Jeff Beliveau to begin the bridge to LHP Jake McGee.
Beliveau allowed a one-out single to Mookie Betts, got the second out of the inning,then gave way to RHP Steve Geltz, a September call-up pitching in his third big-league game and making his Rays debut.
Geltz, pitching with the tying run on second base, allowed a full-count single to Yoenis Cespedes that scored Betts and tied the score in a game the Rays won 4-3 in 10 innings.
Why not McGee?
Maddon said he didn't want McGee to pitch more than one inning. He was only warming up in the bullpen so the Red Sox wouldn't pinch-hit David Ortiz, who did not start.
Also, Maddon said he wanted Geltz to face Cespedes.
“I know that I like Geltz's stuff. I know that. I liked him spring training. I really thought he can do it,” Maddon said.
Geltz finished the inning by striking out Mike Napoli.
Balfour pitching better
RHP Grant Balfour pitched a scoreless 10th inning and earned the victory. It was his third straight solid outing during the series.
Maddon said he likes how Balfour is more aggressive with his fastball and how his delivery is smoother.
“The best way I can describe it from the sideline was not grinding through the whole thing,” Maddon said before the game. “It was kind of an easier delivery and the ball was coming out of his hand better. A little bit freer, a little cleaner.”
Balfour agreed. He said he's tweaked his mechanics and said he's in a better mental state.
“There was one mechanical thing that I felt just clicked for me, and I was like, 'Where was this five months ago?' ”
Balfour said he's staying back over the rubber longer during his delivery, which improves his command.
Myers' big day
Wil Myers enjoyed his best day at the plate since returning from the disabled list with three hits, including an RBI double in the Rays' three-run third inning.
But it was his single in the eighth inning — a line drive to left-center — that he liked the most.
“The double to right field was good, but the ball I hit up the middle really looked like myself,” Myers said. “I'm not a guy who hits the ball the other way a lot. I look to get the bat head out and I was able to do that on a pitch, hitting the ball up the middle, so that really felt well.”
Myers entered the game with six hits in 42 at-bats and 16 strikeouts since returning from the disabled list. Monday was his first three-hit game since May 2.
Boxbergerstuck out three batters to bring his season total to 92, tying the team record for most in a season by a reliever, set in 2008 by J.P. Howell. ... LHP Drew Smyly has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his six starts since joining the Rays. ... To make room for Geltz on the 40-man roster, the Rays outrighted C Ali Solis off the 40-man. Solis accepted his assignment to Triple-A Durham, where he had been playing. ... Class A hitting coach Joe Szekely joined the team and will remain through the Blue Jays series. Minor-league medical coordinator Joe Benge joined the staff for the final month.