The Tampa Bay Rays have experienced a lot of triumph and a lot of heartache over the years.
Wednesday night, they experienced both.
There was the thrill of the evening, a 10th-inning home run by Kevin Kiermaier that led to a series-winning victory, 6-5 over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. There was the agony of letting one slip away, as Brad Boxberger finally blew a save opportunity. There was the energy of a comeback from a 4-0 defeat.
In all, it left the Rays two games above .500 (28-26) and in second place in the American League East.
Kiermaier ended things with his first home run in a month, hitting a 2-1 fastball over the right field wall to lead off the 10th. He is now hitting .236 for the season.
The Rays had gotten back into the game by scoring five runs in the sixth inning with home runs by Joey Butler and Steven Souza Jr. That suggested to manager Kevin Cash that it was time to go to his rested bullpen instead of staying with rookie Nathan Karns.
As it was, it wasn’t a great night for the Rays’ pen, who went through six relievers. Boxberger had his first blown save after 15 in a row when Erick Aybar hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera knocked down a grounder and threw David Freese out at home in the sixth on what Cash said “might have been our best play of the year.”
The Rays now travel to Seattle to start a four-game series with the Mariners tonight. Erasmo Ramirez starts for Tampa Bay.