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Rays rally to beat Tigers in 10 innings

The SportsXchange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Yunel Escobar could tell by the pounding he took during the postgame celebration how much his 10th-inning hit meant to the Tampa Bay Rays.

"It was great," he said through an interpreter after his fifth career walk-off hit. "Because when you celebrate that means you win. You don't celebrate when you lose. ... Yeah, they hit me hard."

Escobar's two-out line drive over Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson drove in the winning run Saturday night as the Rays rallied from three runs down to beat the Tigers 4-3 at Tropicana Field.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said the single against reliever Bruce Rondon (0-1), which scored Sam Fuld from second base, was the product of a season that shouldn't be defined by his .247 batting average. Escobar finished 2-for-4.

"I think he's been swinging the bat well for about two months now," Maddon said. "This guy has been hitting the ball well."

James Loney (3-for-5) began the decisive rally with a one-out single to center field. Rookie Wil Myers followed with a liner up the middle for his second hit of the game, sending Fuld, a pinch runner, to second and putting him in position to score on Escobar's hit.

Jackson appeared to be playing unusually shallow with two outs as Escobar faced Rondon, who hit 100 mph with multiple pitches in the 10th.

Tampa Bay, which has dropped 15 of its last 20 against Detroit and two in a row overall, improved to 42-39. Detroit dropped to 43-36.

"These are the games we've been talking about; we have to start winning," Maddon said. "And we won it against a really good team. The reason we are in somewhat of a hole right now is because we haven't been (winning) those games."

Closer Fernando Rodney (3-2) pitched two innings to earn the win, working through the meat of Detroit's formidable top of the batting order in the 10th. The game took on an emotional edge in when Rodney brushed defending Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera (1-for-4) off the plate before striking him out. Cabrera, who went 4-for-4 and homered twice in a Tigers win on Friday, appeared to yell toward Rodney for most of the subsequent at-bat by Prince Fielder, but Rodney said he didn't hear what was said and thought the discourse was directed at the Rays' bench.

But Rodney claimed he heard Cabrera say "wow" while walking away from the plate, adding, "You can have fun when you hit a home run. I can have fun when I (get) a strikeout."

Rodney defended his right and need to move Cabrera off the inside corner, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland considered the pitch too high and therefore intolerable.

"I don't care about throwing inside," he said. "But I don't like it up there. We will not tolerate that. You can take that to the bank. ... I'm not accusing anybody of anything, but we won't tolerate that. If you're just going to rear back and throw it, you can't throw there."

Luke Scott's fifth home run of the season tied the score for the Rays at 3 with one out in the eighth. It was just the second homer Tigers starter Justin Verlander had allowed to a left-handed batter in 250 at-bats this season.

"It was a changeup," Verlander said. "Just stayed a little flat."

Detroit scored three times in the third off Rays starter Chris Archer. Austin Jackson hit his fourth homer of the season and Jhonny Peralta banged a two-out, two-run single, scoring Cabrera and Victor Martinez (3-for-5), who had reached with singles.

Tampa Bay produced its first run in the bottom of the third as Desmond Jennings led off with a triple and scored on a groundout by Ben Zobrist (3-for-5).

Verlander was charged with three runs (two earned), nine hits and four walks with four strikeouts in eight innings.

Archer left after throwing 94 pitches in five innings, allowing three earned runs, five hits and three walks.

NOTES: Rays 3B Evan Longoria was not in the lineup and will be given a few more days off to mitigate the pain of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Longoria was removed from the game on Friday after aggravating the condition during a second-inning groundout. Longoria left Tropicana Field in a walking boot and aided by crutches but required neither on Saturday. Ryan Roberts was recalled from the minors -- although Kelly Johnson started at third on Saturday -- and RHP Alex Colome was demoted to make room. Longoria was one of only 11 major-leaguers to start every game this season. ... Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez (right shoulder strain) is scheduled to begin an injury rehabilitation assignment on Monday. ... Loney extended his season-high hit streak to 10 games with a first-inning single. ... Peralta's two-run single in the third inning marked just the fifth time this season that Archer had allowed a single on a slider. He entered the game having thrown the pitch 138 times in his previous five starts. ... Detroit was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position; Tampa Bay 2-for-8. ... Cabrera extended his hit streak to 14 games.
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