Grant Balfour Blows Save In Dramatic Fashion
Although all losses are counted the same during the course of a 162 game season there are going to be some losses that hurt a lot more than others. Tonight’s 9-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox will go in the latter category.
It appeared that Balfour got a game inning double play ball when Adam Eaton sent a grounder to Ben Zobrist who appeared to have a little trouble with the transfer to Yunel Escobar resulting in a bang bang play at first with Eaton being ruled safe (upheld on review). The play resulted in De Aza scoring to cut the lead to 6-5 and with Jose Abreu lurking in the hole Balfour walked Marcus Semien to reload the bases.
Jose Abreu hit Balfour’s second pitch for the walk off grand slam sending the Rays to defeat. Abreu’s slam capped another productive night for the Cuban rookie who went 3 for 5 with two home runs and six driven in. The home run was Abreu’s second of the game and his ninth of the year which sets the All-Time record for rookie home runs in the month of April.
Chris Archer started for the Rays and allowed four runs on nine hits striking out four and walking none. Jake McGee and Joel Peralta followed with scoreless innings to set the stage for the save opportunity for Balfour.
The Rays offense had 10 hits and was the beneficiary of 11 base on balls by White Sox pitching but was victimized by grounding into three double plays.
Matt Joyce came to the plate five times and set a franchise record by walking five times. He was the only Rays starter who did not have a hit.