Rays win 6-3, play again today
The Rays kept their season alive with a 6-3 victory over the Rangers in Game 3 of the division series on Saturday night.
The Rays rallied to score twice in the eighth inning to take a 3-2 lead, with Carlos Pena knocking in the tying run and scoring the winner on a John Jaso single. They added from there, with Carl Crawford and Pena homering in the ninth, then hung on as Nelson Cruz homered in the Texas ninth.
The Rays still trail in the best-of-five series 2-1, and have to win again today at 1 p.m., with rookie Wade Davis on the mound, to bring the series back to Tropicana Field for Game 5 on Tuesday.
Matt Garza gave the Rays a tremendous start, pitching into the seventh, and the Rays rallied from there. Former Ranger Joaquin Benoit got the win.
The Rangers, hosting a playoff game for the first time since 1999 and seeking their first home win, took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the third. No. 9 hitter Mitch Moreland sliced a ball down the leftfield line for a double went to third on a passed ball that clanked off catcher John Jaso’s glove and scored on Elvis Andrus’s ground out.
The Rays threatened in the fourth, getting two on with two outs before Carlos Pena flied out to deep right, then broke through to tie it in the sixth with their first run in 17 innings, since Ben Zobrist’s seventh-inning homer in the opener.
Indicative of the way the series had been going, the bigger issue was the glaring mistake they made – this time on the bases - that could have led to more.
They got the one when B.J. Upton, 0-for-10 to that point in the series, laced a double down the leftfield line that scored Dan Johnson.
The problem for the Rays was that Matt Joyce should have scored too, but he’d been thrown out after taking a ill-advised turn to go first-to-third on Johnson’s hard single to right, then realizing too late he wouldn’t make it and getting tagged out as dove back.
There was yet another umpiring controversy on a steal of second, as shortstop Jason Bartlett got the tag on Elvis Andrus’ leg – clearly, from TV replays – for what would have been the third out of the inning, but umpire Jeff Kellogg called him safe.
It didn’t cost the Rays that inning, there may have been a cumulative effect on Garza, who raced to second to protest and had to be calmed by several teammates. He threw five straight balls before getting the third out for the second time, then opened the seventh by allowing a home run to Ian Kinsler, on a 3-2 pitch that put the Rangers up 2-1.
But the Rays tied it 2-2 in the eighth. Johnson doubled off lefty Darren Oliver with one out and Pena, who delivered an inspirational speech to his teammates on Friday, delivered the biggest hit of the playoffs to that point, a line-drive single to right that scored pinch-runner Desmond Jennings.
John Jaso then delivered the next , a single that scored Pena.