Sean Rodriguez Blasts A 3-Run Walk Off Homer Rays Win 5-2

Rays Avoid Sweep On 11th Inning 2-out Walk Off Blast

Sean Rodriguez delivered a 2-out three run homer off Oakland Athletics reliever Luke Gregerson to cap off a four run 2-out rally in the bottom of the eleventh inning to give the Rays their first walk off victory of the season. Josh Lueke (1-2, 4.73 ERA) picks up the win as the Rays end their four game losing streak and improve to 20-28 . Dan Otero (4-1, 2.43 ERA) is charged with the loss as the A’s see their five game winning streak come to an end and fall to 30-17.

Pitching, Defense, And The Three Run Homer

AP Photo
Associated Press

Alex Cobb returned to the Rays rotation for the first time since landing on the disabled list with a strained oblique after his start against the Cincinnati Red on April 12th.

In his absence the Rays starting staff lacked the ability to provide consistent quality starts. Despite the long layoff Cobb delivered a strong performance and a quality start going 6.2 innings allowing  just three hits striking out six and walking two.

He departed the game with the Rays holding a slim 1-0 lead. Sonny Gray started for the A’s and allowed just a Yunel Escobar RBI single in eight solid innings of work. The Rays managed just five hits of him and he struck out three and walked two.

His line would not have looked as impressive it were not for a spectacular catch by Josh Reddick to rob Wil Myers of three RBI with a diving catch with 2-out in the third inning.

Jake McGee came in for Cobb and ended the seventh inning before turning the ball over to Joel Peralta who worked a scoreless eighth.

Grant Balfour entered the game with the Rays holding the slimmest of leads but was unable to lock the game down as he allowed a lead off single to John Jaso and then walked Josh Donaldson to push Jaso into scoring position.

He was able to strike out the dangerous Brandon Moss for the first out of the inning but Yoenis Cespedes followed with a double that scored Jaso to tie the game at 1-1.

Jed Lowrie was intentionally walked to load the bases and Balfour came back to retire Josh Reddick on a shallow fly ball to Matt Joyce in left field that was not deep enough for Donaldson to tag up and Alberto Callaspo was unable to deliver a key two-out hit as he flew out to left to end the inning.

Juan Carlos Oviedo came in to work a scoreless 10th inning retiring all three batters he faced to extend his scoreless streak in the month of May to 10.2 innings. The scoreless outing marked the 12th time in 13 appearances that he has held the opposition off the board.

The game remained tied entering the top of the 11th inning and Joe Maddon turned to Josh Lueke who allowed a leadoff double to Josh Donaldson. The A’s then used productive outs to score the go ahead run as Donaldson moved to third on a Brandon Moss ground out to second base and came in to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes.

Evan Longoria singled to lead off the 11th but Dan Otero retired both Matt Joyce and Wil Myers on fly outs to left leaving Longoria stranded over at first base.

With 2-outs James Loney kept the Rays hopes alive with a single to move Longoria into scoring position for Desmond Jennings who delivered a game tying RBI single.

With Sean Rodriguez due up and Otero tiring after 2.1 innings of work A’s Manager Bob Melvin went to right hander Luke Gregerson. With the count even at two balls and two strikes Gregerson went with a slider, the pitch that gives Rodriguez the most trouble, but he left it out over the plate and Rodriguez turned on it and hit his team leading fifth home run on the season.

AP Photo
Associated Press

After making two errors to cost Erik Bedard the game last night the Rays played an errorless game behind Alex Cobb.

Message From Joe Maddon:

I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.