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Rays capture strange victory over Tigers on misplayed grounder

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Sometimes, baseball makes no sense. None at all. Sometimes, it is a bizarre, unexplainable game filled with strange bounces.

Take the Tampa Bay Rays’ 8-7 victory over the Detroit Tigers Wednesday. It was a confusing mess of a game in which everything you thought you knew was no longer true.

For instance, the Tigers launched a comeback when gold glover Kevin Kiermaier missed a fly ball, leading to a three-run triple.

For instance, the Rays came back from that when Juan Iglecias tripped over second base on a tailor-made double-play ball and threw wildly to first, allowing two runs to score.

For instance, the Rays knocked in the winning run with a routine groundball that would have ended the game with Detroit winning. It was misplayed, and Tampa Bay won.

Yeah. It was like that.

The Rays are now 7-2 at home on the year (1-6 on the road) and have won each of their three series this year. The Rays had 14 hits, including three each by Kiermaier and Evan LongoriaCorey Dickerson, Brad Miller, Steven Souza Jr. and Shane Peterson all had two.

The most surprising effort of the night, however, was by reliever Travis Pruitt. Pruitt had made six appearances this year, and he had given up a run in all of them. In all, he had a 15.88 ERA. But Wednesday night, he threw three and one-third inning and allowed only one hit and no runs to get his first major league win.

Pruitt said one of the keys was first-pitch strikes. “If you can do that, you’re in the driver’s seat,” he said. “If not, you’re in the passenger’s seat.”

Said manager Kevin Cash: “I really don’t know. I want to say that he’s been snake-bit by some unfortunate luck. He’s given up some hard-hit balls. We know this guy is going to be around the plate and he generally pitches ahead in the count. If it was anything, it was probably he was able to turn it into three innings where he could control the count a little better.”

The sight of Kiermaier failing to make a catch was shocking. He suggested the ball may have knuckled on him.

“Sloppy,” Kiermaier said. “We’ll take it anyway we can. I missed that ball. That’s a play I expect to make. Something went wrong with it, but I need to catch that. I hold myself accountable.”

The Rays play the Tigers again at 1:10 p.m. Erasmo Ramirez pitches against Daniel Norris.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit [email protected]

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