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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Message From Joe Maddon:
Have to keep pushing that boulder in the other direction. Want to believe we will get a bump from this on the offensive side.
— Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) May 23, 2014