Pena’s 3-run shot caps 6-run rally in 9th for Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Carlos Pena admits there is a growing sense that Tampa Bay might be destined for big things this season.
That said, the Rays are trying to stay calm about their success.
Pena’s three-run homer capped a six-run rally in the ninth inning that carried the Rays past the Cleveland Indians 10-7 Wednesday for one of their most thrilling victories in a wondrous season.
“That’s something that we definitely think about it and envision,” Pena said. “We actually see it in reality at the same time. It’s very important for us that we also put it in perspective. We know it’s great, we’re enjoy it, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We never lose focus in the fact, ‘Hey, let’s play the game today.’ It’s most important for us.”’
Masa Kobayashi (4-5) replaced Mujica and gave up an infield single to Akinori Iwamura. The right-hander then walked Ben Zobrist before Pena homered to center for his fifth career game-ending homer, setting off a raucous celebration at Tropicana Field.
“Probably the most exciting win I’ve been involved with here,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Pena tossed his helmet aside as he approached home plate, where he was mobbed by jubilant teammates bouncing in unison. The AL East leaders, who have never won more than 70 games in 10 previous seasons, improved to 68-45 with their eighth victory in 11 games.
The Rays, whose 45 home wins are the most in the majors, now embark on their final trip out West this season beginning Thursday night at Seattle.
Troy Percival (2-0) got two outs in the ninth for the win. He threw a run-scoring wild pitch that made it 7-4.
“I feel happy to do that,” Peralta said.
Dioner Navarro had a two-run homer for Tampa Bay, which has won 15 of its last 16 series at home.
Rays center fielder B.J. Upton was benched by Maddon for failing to run out an eighth-inning grounder in Tuesday’s 8-4 win over the Indians. Maddon said the benching was a one-day action, and after the game said the matter was closed.
“I just work here,” Upton said.
Indians designated hitter Ryan Garko had a short day Wednesday after not leaving the batter’s box on a second-inning grounder that hugged the first-base line before Pena fielded the ball and recorded an unassisted out. Andy Marte pinch-hit for Garko in the third.
“I just benched him because he didn’t run it out,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
Garko said he made a “mental mistake.”
“It’s a respect thing, really, and now it’s over,” Garko added.
Rays All-Star Scott Kazmir continued a personal trend of not pitching deep into games, allowing five runs and nine hits over 4 1-3 innings. The left-hander has gone 5 2-3 innings or less in seven of his last nine starts.
“I’m not concerned yet,” Maddon said. “If it was a physical issue I would be.”
Peralta’s fourth hit, an RBI double, extended Cleveland’s advantage to 6-4 in the sixth. He cut the Indians’ deficit to 3-2 with a third-inning homer.
Longoria had an RBI single and Navarro hit a two-run shot to put the Rays ahead 3-1 in the first. Navarro has two homers and five RBIs in the last two games.
Cleveland took the lead on Franklin Gutierrez’s leadoff homer in the first.
Indians starter Jeremy Sowers gave up four runs and six hits in six innings.
After the game, The Indians recalled RHP Anthony Reyes from Triple-A Buffalo to start Friday’s gane with Toronto. Cleveland also purchased the contract of RHP Brendan Donnelly from Buffalo, put RHP Matt Ginter (forearm) on the 15-day disabled list and optioned RHP Tom Mastny to Buffalo. … Cleveland 2B Asdrubal Cabrera left in the sixth with a sprained left ankle. He is day to day. … Peralta has seven homers and 28 RBIs in his last 26 games. … Cleveland CF Grady Sizemore was rested.