Tampa Bay Rays
Rays top Angels with wild extra-innings finish
ST. PETERSBURG - On a day in which James Shields was again excellent, the Rays won a game on a walk-off wild pitch for the first time in franchise history. Matt Joyce scored from third base with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning when Fernando Rodney bounced a sinker past catcher Hank Conger, and the Rays beat the Angels 2-1 before a concert-inflated crowd of 20,245 at Tropicana Field. "It was a crazy game," said Joyce, who hit his second home run in two days in the fifth and led off the 10th with a double. "Shields was amazing. You can't say enough about what the guy has done — the turnaround from last year. I thought he was going to close it out ... but we got the win." Shields, who was coming off two complete-game wins, was perfect through 41/3 innings. He took a shutout into the ninth, but Torii Hunter opened with a double to left center.Manager Joe Maddon called for Kyle Farnsworth, and the team's saves leader might have picked up his sixth if not for a couple of bad breaks. First, Vernon Wells advanced Hunter to third with a grounder off Farnsworth's right shin. And then Howie Kendrick hit a grounder to second against a drawn-in infield. Ben Zobrist bobbled the ball and had to throw to first rather than home, and the game was tied. "I think (Zobrist) would have had Hunter at the plate easily had he just been able to throw it," Maddon said. "That's part of the way (the Angels) play — they're putting pressure on the defense. That's something I'm a big believer in, too." Joyce, who is hitting .483 during his past 18 games, broke hard on his opposite-field liner to left off Rodney to start the Rays' 10th and made it to second. He advanced to third on a groundout by Casey Kotchman and scored standing up when Rodney (0-1) uncorked a 1-2 pitch to Felipe Lopez that bounced off the dirt and then off Conger. Joel Peralta (1-0) got the win after retiring the side in the 10th. "I ended up getting to third with two outs, and (third base coach Tom) Foley was making sure I was ready for a wild pitch," Joyce said. "He actually called it on that pitch: He said, 'Be ready right here just in case he throws it in the dirt.' He threw it in the dirt, and I scored the winning run." Shields, who matched his career high for strikeouts with 12, struck out the side in the first and was breezing with one out in the fifth. But Kendrick, Erick Aybar and Conger reached on consecutive singles, and Shields found himself pitching with the bases loaded and one out. He struck out Peter Bourjos swinging on a fastball and Alexi Amarista swinging on a slider. "That inning, Howie Kendrick hit a hard shot to Lopez that kind of hopped up on him," Shields said. "I had a broken-bat single up the middle and then, I think, kind of a swinging bunt. "I knew right there with the bases loaded in a tied ballgame I had to bear down. I ended up striking out the two guys to end the inning, and Joyce hit a homer in the bottom of the inning to give us the lead." Joyce, after hitting a three-run shot in the Rays' 8-5 loss Friday night, hit a mistake pitch from Joel Pineiro 385 feet over the right-center wall. "It was just a pitch up," Joyce said. "He was doing a great job keeping the ball down and mixing up his pitches. He left a fastball over the middle of the plate, and it was up a little bit, so I put a good swing on it." Shields tied the Rays record for consecutive scoreless innings at 21 and fell one inning shy of becoming the first Rays pitcher to throw three consecutive complete games. The Rays have scored only nine runs in his six starts, an average of 1.5 per game. "Shieldsy commanded everything he threw," Maddon said. firstname.lastname@example.org. 813-259-7994.
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