Yunel Escobar Delivers in 10th, Rays Defeat Tigers 4-3
The Tampa Bay Ray defeated the Detroit Tigers in 10 innings by a final score of 4-3. Fernando Rodney (3-2, 4.54 ERA) earned the victory and at the midway point of the season the Rays record to 42-39. Bruce Rondon (0-1, 12.00 ERA) took the loss and the Detroit Tigers fall to 43-36.
With runners at 2nd and 3rd and 2-out Yunel Escobar delivered a walk-off single over Austin Jackson's head in center field to score Sam Fuld giving the Rays a 4-3 victory in the bottom of the 10th inning. The victory was the 500th team victory since becoming the Rays in 2008 (500-391). It was the Rays 5th walk-off victory and their first walk-off victory since May 28th against the Miami Marlins. It was also Escobar's 5th walk-off hit of his career.
The Rays entered the 8th inning trailing 3-2 and Justin Verlander on the mound for the Tigers. With 1-out and nobody on base Luke Scott watched a first pitch curveball go by for ball one. His second pitch was a changeup that Scott turned on and deposited over the wall in right to tie the score at 3-3.
Justin Verlander said "It was a changeup, just stayed a little flat. That was one thing with the adjustment that I made. I feel like my changeup got a little up and flat, but as the game went along, it got a little bit better so I was comfortable throwing it there. It just didn't do what I needed tit to do. Got a little bit too much plate and didn't have depth to it. He put a good swing on it."
The Rays had an opportunity to comeback thanks to their bullpen which shut the Tigers high powered down over the final 5 innings. Alex Torres was stellar once again working 2 scoreless innings and striking out 3 and walking 1. He has appeared in 12 games this season allowing on 1 earned run in 23 innings of work on 6 hits striking out 31 and walking 7.
Joel Peralta relieved Torres and worked a scoreless 8th inning allowing only 1-run and he departed the game for Fernando Rodney who after working a scoreless 9th inning came out to face the heart of the Tigers lineup beginning with Miguel Cabrera.
After jumping ahead in the count 0-2 Rodney threw two balls up and in on Cabrera which seemed to upset the Tigers slugger who struck out the next pitch after the second dusting and exchanged words with Rodney and the Rays dugout as he returned to the Tiger dugout.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was not happy with the approach taken by Rodney saying, "I don't care about throwing inside. But I don't like it up there. We will not tolerate that. You can take that to the bank. We won't tolerate that up to the head- to anybody. I'm not accusing anybody of anything but we won't tolerate that. If you're going to just rare back and throw it, you can't throw it there. If you're throwing down at the legs, in or something, for a purpose, I don't have any problem with that, but not upstairs. That will cause a lot of problems for people."
Fernando Rodney was a bit more colorful in discussing the incident. When asked what Cabrera said to him Rodney said, "He said 'wow'...It's my job. You can have fun when you hit a home run. can have fun when (I get) a strikeout." Asked if Cabrera was mad about being pitched inside Rodney said, "You have to pitch inside sometimes. If you (don't) you're not a pitcher, you have to protect the strike zone. You have to pitch inside, outside, everywhere."
Joe Maddon chimed in and said, "It seems like Miguel might have been upset and I really don't know why. BUt it looked like he was...there was no intent...I was just watching the whole thing. I was kind of surprised."
Chris Archer did not pitch poorly in his 5 innings allowing 3R/ER on 5 hits striking out 3 and walking 3. The Tigers jumped out to a 3-o lead in the 3rd inning. Austin Jackson led off the inning with his 4th home run on the year. Later in the inning Jhonny Peralta lined a 2-out 2-RBI singlet to score both Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez to put the Tigers ahead 3-0. The key play in the inning was a wild pitch charged to Chris Archer on a ball that should have been blocked that allowed Cabrera to move up to 3rd and Martinez to 2nd.
The Rays chipped away at the Tigers lead with a single runs in the 3rd and the 5th. In the 3rd inning Desmond Jennings tripled and came in to score on a Ben Zobrist fielders choice. In the 5th inning Matt Joyce led off the inning with a ground ball to Prince Fielder who threw wildly to first and Joyce was safe. He advanced to 3rd on a Ben Zobrist single and came in to score on a James Loney single.
Until Luke Scott homered to tie the game Justin Verlander had frustrated the Rays offense through the first 7 innings holding them to 2 runs (1 earned) as he danced in and out of trouble numerous times. In the 1st inning the Rays had runners on the corners with 2-out but Wil Myers flew out to end the inning. In the 4th inning the Rays had runners on 1st and 2nd with 2-out and Kelly Johnson grounded out. In the 5th inning with runners on 1st and 2nd Myers grounded in to a double play. In the 7th inning with runners on the corners James Loney grounded in to a double play.