Never Say Die, Rays Come From Behind Again
Over the course of a season a team is going to win some wild games and lose some. There will be heartbreaking losses and thrilling victories. Thankfully, the Tampa Bay Rays wild walk-off 8-7 victory over the Detroit Tigers goes in the victory column.
Austin Pruitt (1-0, 10.00 ERA) picked up his first big league win for the Rays who improve to 8-8 on the season. They also improve to 7-2 at home. It was their fifth come from behind win of the season and their second walk-off win.
“Can not say enough about what Austin Pruitt did tonight.” Manager Kevin Cash said. “Obviously for a guy that has had an interesting first couple weeks in the big leagues and his debut and everything – everyone’s really pumped up for Austin.”
Francisco Rodriguez (1-1, 5.40 ERA) takes the loss for the Tigers who fall to 8-6.
The Rays entered the ninth inning trailing 8-7 against Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez. Kevin Kiermaier was first up in the inning looking to atone for a costly three run misplay the put the Rays down in the first place. He was able to draw the crucial leadoff walk. Evan Longoria followed with a double to right field moving Kiermaier to third. Brad Miller was intentionally walked.
Steven Souza Jr. worked a full count before striking out on what was ruled a swinging strike. Manager Kevin Cash charged out of the dugout to protest, not only the call, but the fact that the umpire never asked for help from the first base umpire. He was ejected and watched the remainder of the game from the clubhouse.
Logan Morrison followed and sent a ground ball to second baseman Ian Kinsler. It wasn’t hit particularly hard but Morrison did stumble out of the box giving the Tigers ample time to turn the game ending double play. Kinsler feed was perfect but shortstop Jose Iglesias stumbled at the bag and threw wildly to first allowing Kiermaier to score the tying run and pinch runner Peter Bourjos to score the winning run.
Longoria On The Win:
“It was back and forth the whole game,” Evan Longoria said after the game. “I think that’s the attitude of the club right now. It’s just never quit. We’ve really been doing a good job staying nine innings in a game and today was no different.”
Longoria added that the win, like all wins, was a big win. “We had a couple slip away from us on the last road trip, this one had a little bit of that feeling in the middle innings but we fought through it and were able to come through and get a big win.”
Archer K’s Return But Pitch Count Elevates:
In his first three starts of the year Chris Archer had struck out 18 batters in 20.1-innings. A good K-rate but not close to his 2016 rate. In 5-innings he struck out 9 batters but needed 104 pitches to get through the five frames. Overall, Archer allowed four earned runs on seven hits with the nine strikeouts against just two walks.
“It was a great team win. What Austin Pruitt did there to pitch three innings and get his first win, that was huge.” Archer said. “That ninth inning against a really good closer, that was big.”
Kiermaier Misplay!? Something You Don’t See Everyday:
The Tigers had the bases loaded with 2-outs trailing 5-4 in the top of the sixth. Jumbo Diaz got Nick Castellanos to send a line drive to the right of Kevin Kiermaier. Kiermaier got to the ball in plenty of time but the somehow allowed the ball to sail past his glove and to the wall.
“The key turning point in that game is when I missed that ball.” Kiermaier said. “That’s a play I expect to make.” Adding, “Something happened, but I need to catch that. That was a big letdown for us. I hold myself accountable but you have to play nine innings and that’s what we did today and we came out on top.”
Offense Does It’s Part:
Corey Dickerson went 2-for-5 with an RBI and 2-runs scored. It was his seventh multi-hit game of the season.
Kevin Kiermaier finished 3-for-4 with a walk and four runs scored. After a 1-for-19 skid, Kiermaier has hit in four straight games (8-for-17).
Evan Longoira, who trimmed his beard prior to the game, went 3-for-4 with 3-RBI and a run scored. It was his first multi-hit game since Opening Day against the New York Yankees.
Brad Miller finished 2-for-4 with a walk and Steven Souza Jr. finished 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI.
Shane Peterson continues to take advantage of his opportunity going 2-for-3 with a walk.
Up Next For Rays:
The Rays will look for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon. Erasmo Ramirez (1-0, 3.72 ERA) makes his first start of the year (filling in for the injured Jake Odorizzi). The Tigers will turn to Daniel Norris (1-0, 2.19 ERA) to avoid the sweep.
The Rays will attempt their first sweep since Aug 15-17, 2016 vs. San Diego, and first of Detroit since July 26-29, 2010 (4 games).