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Sunday, Jun 17, 2018
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Tampa Bay Rays

Rays power past Rockies in 10 innings

DENVER - Evan Longoria drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning Friday night and Kelly Johnson followed with a two-run homer, giving closer Fernando Rodney something to work with in a ballpark that almost generates its own runs.

The Tampa Bay Rays skipped out of Coors Field with a feel-good, 7-4, 10-inning win against the Colorado Rockies in the Rays' first interleague game of the season.

"That was a huge win," Johnson said.

The Rays trailed 3-0 after two innings, rallied for a 4-3 lead, let that get away then used seven relief pitchers to eventually squeeze past the Rockies and stop a two-game losing streak.

"That's the kind of game I expect our team to win - late, tight and on the road," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

The Rays won for just the fifth time in 16 road games this season, including three times on this current road trip.

They won despite an off night from starter Matt Moore, who could only give them five innings. His no-decision stopped his run of five wins in five starts this season.

They won because the bullpen, which has been hit around a bit this season, threw six shutout innings.

"That's what we're capable of. We're a very talented group of guys," said Brandon Gomes, who faced one batter, threw five pitches to pick up the biggest out of the game.

Closer Fernando Rodney earned his fourth save in just his fifth opportunity this season.

But the biggest moment belonged to Jake McGee and Gomes, who combined to pitch the Rays out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth inning with a pair of strikeouts - the first from McGee, the second from Gomes.

"He's our player of the game," Moore said of Gomes.

Moore allowed three runs over the first two innings on a pair of home runs, but the Rays offense bailed him out and gave him a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning.

Back-to-back RBI doubles by Ryan Roberts and Ben Zobrist trimmed the Rockies' lead to 3-2 in the third inning and Desmond Jennings two-run homer in the fifth gave the Rays their first lead.

Jennings's homer extended the Rays' team record streak of consecutive games with a home run to 17.

The lead was short-lived, though, because Moore gave it right back in the bottom of the inning. With his fastball command shaky, Moore struggled to get through five innings. He allowed season highs in runs, hits (seven) and home runs (two).

"The fastball command, obviously, was not there," Maddon said. "He just did not look comfortable. I didn't see that real comfort zone out there where he felt good about getting into a rhythm and just pitching."

The bullpen, however, took it from there. Jamey Wright, Joel Peralta and McGee combined to retire seven straight Rockies. The steak ended when McGee allowed back-to-back, one-out hits in the eighth.

With Troy Tulowitzki waiting to pinch-hit, Maddon went to the mound and told McGee to walk Tulowotzki and strike out the next batter, leadoff hitter Eric Young.

"He said, 'We're going to walk him right here and you're going to strike the next guy out.' I believed him, because he said it like three times," McGee said.

And that's what happened.

"Pretty impressive," Maddon said. "Jake's been struggling a bit and I thought it was a great moment for him right there and I thought it was a good moment to get him out of there."

Maddon called for Gomes to face Jordon Pacheco, and Gomes got Pacheco looking at a called third strike on a 2-2 pitch.

"Those guys were poised, threw great pitches, made every pitch they needed to make," Johnson said. "They did an outstanding job."

Kyle Farnsworth threw a perfect ninth inning and earned the win when the Rays scored three times in the 10th.

Zobrist led off with a double, and Longoria drove him home with a single to center field.

"You don't want Longo to necessarily move the runner over to third base with nobody out. We want to try to drive the run in and he went ahead and drove the run in," Maddon said. "That was tremendous. And of course Kelly coming through. The extra couple of runs there is always nice. This ballpark can give it up very quickly."

The Rays were the only American League East team to win Friday night, enabling them to gain ground in the standings for the first time in 12 days.

They were also the only AL East team to score a run, since the other four teams were all shut out. That hasn't happened since Major League Baseball went to the three-division format in each league in 1994.
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