Say this for the Tampa Bay Rays. They still know how to celebrate.
Look at them frolic. Look at Logan Morrison on the back of hero Luke Maile. Look at the team bound around home plate. Look at the Rays celebrate their third walkoff victory of the year, a 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
The Rays are now 4-57 in games in which they have trailed after seven innings.
It was the bottom of the 11th inning, two out, when Maile doubled to right field. After Logan Forsythe walked, Kevin Kiermaier hit a grounder to first, but when Heath Hembree covered first, he dropped the ball. He turned and threw to the plate to try to cut down Maile, but catcher Sandy Leon couldn’t hold onto the ball.
“Very odd play, unique play,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said.”I didn’t envision Maile taking an extra 90 feet on a ball that didn’t get out of the infield, but I’m glad he did.”
For the Rays, there were several bright spots. For the second straight night, the bullpen threw shutout baseball against Boston (nine innings). Pitcher Matt Andriese threw six innings. And Evan Longoria hit his 30th home run of the year to tie the game at 3-3 after Boston took a 3-0 lead.
Cash said it was nice to see Longoria’s success.
“It’s been exciting to watch,” Cash said. “It’s nice to see Longo have the success. He’s carried us in so many ways this year, offensively, defensively. There were a lot of people saying last year or early this year, questioning where has he gone? I think he’s answered a lot of those questions with the season he’s put together this year.”
Maile was elated by scoring the winning run.
“The main thing I was trying to do was get good secondary leads. Once I got to second base, I knew that I’m not the fastest guy on the field, so I wanted to get an advantage and get off the bag as much as I could,” Maile said. “As soon as I saw the ball go into the ground, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to beat it unless it got kicked around a little bit. But I just tried to run hard, pick up the ball, and as soon as I touched third, instincts just take over after that. That was awesome. It’s even more fun than it looks like on TV.”
Said Kiermaier: “I tried getting down the line as quick as possible and hoped for the best, and thankfully, he didn’t come up with it clean and it kicked away from him. And Luke did a great job busting his butt down the line and sliding into home. It was such a moment of relief.”
The Rays play the Red Sox in a day game today when Jake Odorizzi pitches against Drew Pomeranz.