Rays win on RBI fielder’s choice in 10th inning
“We win the game because a guy running at first, Sean, does the right thing,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “We win because of him and his effort. Sean gets a great lead at first, a great jump and makes the play. That doesn’t happen every night.”
Evan Longoria(notes) opened the 10th with an infield single off Duane Below(notes) (0-2), but was forced out at second on Zobrist’s grounder. After Matt Joyce(notes) struck out, Casey Kotchman(notes) was hit by a pitch and pinch-hitter Rodriguez walked to load the bases.
“It was fortunate … Inge got rid of it real good, but Santiago didn’t get there, I guess, early enough,” Rodriguez said. “The ball beat me there, but he didn’t.”
Inge, a defensive replacement in the 10th, also briefly bobbled Zobrist’s grounder, which might have cost the Tigers a double play.
“It’s not obvious I could have gotten him at third,” Inge said. “I was playing way back to give myself a better angle. He hit the ball to my left, so it’s very cut and dried … On a ball hit to your left, you go to second base all the time. That’s the right move. That’s the only play you have.”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said the final play is just part of the game.
“I thought there was an out at first or probably at third,” Leyland said. “We didn’t execute a couple of chances and it cost us. We couldn’t come up with the big hit. We didn’t do much offensively.”
Damon gave the Rays a 2-1 lead on his 2,700th career hit, an RBI double off Max Scherzer(notes) in the fifth. The Tampa Bay designated hitter also doubled in the first and moved past Mark Grace (511) into 45th place all-time with 513 doubles.
Avila pulled the Tigers even at 2 on his 16th homer this year during the seventh. He is 8 for 21, including four home runs, against Tampa Bay this season.
Scherzer gave up two runs and four hits in five innings. The right-hander was pulled after throwing 97 pitches.
Longoria tied it at 1 with his 22nd homer of the season in the fourth. It was his 104th career homer, tying him for third place on Tampa Bay’s career list with Carl Crawford(notes). Longoria has 61 RBIs over his last 64 games.
Notes: Damon is the 64th player to reach 2,700 hits. … Leyland said Tampa Bay’s rotation is the best in the AL. “I really believe that,” Leyland said. “Pretty impressive.” … Cabrera will go on the paternity leave list and miss Thursday’s game, but is expected to rejoin the team Friday. … C Omir Santos(notes) will be called up from Triple-A Toledo to replace Cabrera and likely will give Avila, who has started 18 straight games at catcher, a break. … Tampa Bay CF B.J Upton (strained right shoulder) struck out as a pinch hitter for the second straight game. … Rays bullpen coach Bobby Ramos (throat infection) is not with the team. … Tigers RHP Doug Fister(notes) (5-3) will pitch against Tampa Bay RHP Jeremy Hellickson(notes) (11-8) in Thursday’s series finale.