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Rays’ Kevin Keirmaier gunned down tying run to preserve Rays’ win

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Here’s a bad idea. The game is on the line, and you’re going to run on Kevin Kiermaier.

Really?

Kiermaier, second in the American League in throwing out opposing baserunners, did it again in the bottom of the ninth inning of Tampa Bay’s 5-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Kiermaier gunned down Alexei Ramirez, his short hop finding Curt Casali, who tagged over a somersaulting Rameriz. It was the 12th assist of the year for Kiermaier. If Ramirez had not tried to score, the White Sox would have had the tying run on third with no one out.

It could be argued that Kiermaier’s throw was the play of the game. It could also be argued that it was the two-out hit in the top of the ninth by rookie Mikie Mahtook. Or that it was the game-tying home run by Grady Sizemore – off a lefty, by the way, because the Rays were out of pinch-hitters – in the the top of the eighth inning.

Mahtook had failed twice, grounding out once and striking out another time, with the bases loaded before his sharp single in the ninth.

For the Rays, Nathan Karns pitched 5 2/3 innings, but on his last batter, he gave up a two-run homer to Jose Abreu to tie the game. Jake McGee got the win by pitching a perfect eighth, and Brad Boxberger recorded his 27th save.

Tampa Bay’s Richie Shaffer made his major league debut, walking and getting hit by a pitch. He was 0-for-2.

Tonight, the Rays’ Chris Archer pitches against Chicago’s Chris Sale.

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 garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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