ST. PETERSBURG - Truth be told, the most dificult part of the 10th inning for Wil Myers was the on-field celebration that followed his winning hit. "It was pretty hard," Myers said. The pounding on his head and his back was a bit much. That his teammates tried to rip off his uniform was a kind of odd, too, for the rookie. "I don't understand that one at all," he said. "I don't know why they do that, but whatever."
It was another welcome-to-the-big-leagues moment for Myers, who sent the Rays dancing out of the dugout Saturday night with the first walk-off hit of his young career - a bases-loaded single to left field in the 10th that gave the Rays a 2-1 victory against the Giants. "I thought I was going to have a good at-bat," Myers said. "It was a good situation to be in, bases-loaded no out, infield in, put the ball up the middle. Just tried to stayed calm up there." The win snapped a two-game losing streak and kept the second place Rays one game behind the division-leading Red Sox. "That was a huge win for us," said David Price, who allowed one run in nine innings. It also came on a night when the Rays continued to struggle with runners in scoring position - 2-for-8 and 11 left on base. It was the Rays' third win in their last seven games while scoring two or fewer runs. The victory also came in front of a nearly full house, as 31,969 rocked Tropicana Field with the third-largest crowd of the season. The first 10,000 through the doors received the popular Joe Maddon Gnome. The remaining 21,969 had to settle for watching a pretty good pitching matchup between Price, the 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner, and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum, who won the award in the NL in 2008 and 2009. Lincecum, who won one of his previous nine starts (and that was a no-hitter) allowed one run on seven hits through seven innings. Price pitched nine innings for the fourth time since returning from the disabled list. He became the first Rays pitcher since Wade Davis on Aug. 24, 2011 to pitch nine innings and not factor in the decision. That's because the Rays offense can't buy a big hit. Their third-inning run came when Jose Molina scored on Ben Zobrist's force-out. The Rays left the go-ahead run at second base in the eighth inning and the winning run on second in the ninth. It appeared those wasted scoring chances would come back to haunt the Rays when Fernando Rodney, pitching the 10th inning, allowed a leadoff double to Hunter Pence. But Rodney got out of the jam. Desmond Jennings opened the bottom of the 10th with a walk. He stole second base, a move that put him in scoring position but also enabled Giants Jean Machi to walk Zobrist to get to the slumping Evan Longoria. Longoria, whose last hit came in the fifth inning of the July 29 makeup game against the Red Sox in Boston, walked on four pitches to load the bases. Up came Myers, who walked to the plate with a calmness not quite the norm for someone whose been in the big leagues since mid-June. "Nothing different," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I know that he wanted to be there. I know that he was confident that he could get the job done, which is every at-bat, like I'm saying, nothing different. He believes he belongs in that spot. He's going to come through. Very simply, that's what he is." Myers swung through the first pitch, then drilled the next one over the head of Giants left fielder Jeff Francouer for the winning hit. "Bases loaded is a pretty easy situation to hit in," Myers said. "Obviously, bases loaded, no outs, just put the ball in play up the middle. The celebration was pretty crazy. First time I had anything like that before. It was pretty fun. It was just a good team. I think the biggest thing about that game was Rodney coming in and closing the door after that leadoff double, and especially Desmond getting a leadoff walk. The really set the game up." firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 259-7227 Twitter: @RMooneyTBO