Richie Palacios lifts Rays to second straight walkoff win over A’s

ST. PETERSBURG — Richie Palacios thought it was his time. As the Rays infielder/outfielder stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 12th inning Thursday at Tropicana Field, he was looking for a pitch from T.J. McFarland he could lift into the air.

After fouling off two heavy sinkers, Palacios dug down low and got under another. With Jose Caballero on third, he lined a single into right-centerfield to give the Rays their second walkoff win in as many days, 6-5 over the A’s.

“It took me a couple of pitches,” Palacios said. “I kept fouling it off. But eventually I was able to do it.”

Palacios’ first career walkoff hit allowed the Rays to take the three-game series after they had lost the previous two, to the Red Sox and Royals.

It also pulled Palacios even in the family competition with his brother Josh, who is in the Pirates organization, and uncle Rey, who played for the Royals from 1988-90.

“It was actually funny,” Palacios said. “I was doing an interview the other day, and my brother has a walkoff and my uncle has a walkoff. And I said in the interview, ‘Better get a walkoff before this becomes a family thing.’ I didn’t know it was going to come (Thursday), but it is exciting that it did.”

The timing couldn’t have been better for the Rays (28-29), who faced the possibility of dropping a third straight series during the nine-game homestand. Instead, they won their third game in their past four following a six-game losing streak.

It was the first time the Rays had won back-to-back games since May 17-18 in Toronto and the first time they had consecutive walkoff wins since Aug. 11-12 against Cleveland. They had not won a home series since May 6-8 against the White Sox.

“Obviously, when you’re winning it’s a a better feeling,” Palacios said. “But when we were having tough times, we were sticking together. That’s the biggest thing. We were sticking together, pulling for each other, and that allowed us to get to where we are today. Where we’re driving, and we’re winning.”

The Rays also snapped a season-high 13-game streak without a multi-homer game, with three. They had just two home runs over their previous eight games combined. Isaac Paredes hit his 10th of the season in the first inning to give his team two quick runs. In the second, Wednesday night’s hero, Jose Siri, hit his first since May 12 to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.

Siri, who had just three homers entering the game, hit his second of the day with one out in the bottom of the ninth off fireballing closer Mason Miller. The multi-home run game was Siri’s first since Aug. 9, 2023.

After two scoreless innings from Rays opener Shawn Armstrong, the A’s jumped on bulk reliever Tyler Alexander. He gave up an RBI double to Brent Rooker and an RBI single to Miguel Andujar before Shea Langeliers hammered a two-run homer to left-centerfield.

Alexander was charged with four runs on seven hits over 4⅔ innings. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter. Tampa Bay used five pitchers after Alexander, the second straight day it has had to rely heavily on its bullpen.

The Rays now hope the energy from their back-to-back walkoff wins will roll over into Friday, when they open a three-game series against the second-place Orioles in Baltimore, the start of a five-game, two-city trip.

“I hope that helps,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “You’re going to create some energy when you play tight games and you find ways to win them in those walkoff scenarios. But hopefully, we can continue that, take it into this road trip.

“I think Jose Siri probably highlighted a lot of it. We had a lot of tough at-bats. I am really proud of the way (reliever) Pete (Fairbanks) came through there after getting in a pretty tough jam and a nice double-play turn to keep it at one (in the 10th) to give us a chance.

“But Jose the last two nights, he’s really come through for us,” Cash continued. “And then Richie right there at the end. Huge at-bat. McFarland is really tough. ... A lot of deception to his delivery, especially for lefties, and (Palacios) was able to hang in there and drive a pitch out in the outfield.”

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