Lobaton lifts Rays to 2-1 win with walkoff homer in 10th
Rays catcher Jose Lobaton had zero walkoff hits in his career until this past hometand.
Now, Lobaton has two in the last three games, including Sunday's walkoff homer in the 10th to lift the Rays to a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays.
And his parents, Tomas and Maria, were in town from Venezuela to see them both
The Rays caught a huge break in the ninth, when Edwin Encarnacion missed a go-ahead homer by an inch, his line drive off Fernando Rodney bouncing off the top of the shorter, five-foot wall in the left-field corner.
Tampa Bay had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the eighth, with runners on first and third and no outs, but squandered it, partly due to a botched safety squeeze bunt attempt.
For most of the day, this was a pitcher’s duel between Rays rookie righthander and Jays righty Todd Redmond, the St. Pete native and Northside Christian product making his special homecoming. Each gave up just one run, Archer through seven, and Redmond six-plus.
Archer was dominant from the get-go, striking out two of three in the first inning and retiring the first nine hitters he faced. He was attacking the strike zone, and hitting 98 miles per hour with his fastball.
Redmond gave up just two hits in the first four innings, both to Evan Longoria, who ripped a solo homer – his 24th – in the first inning to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.
Archer got out of a key jam in the fourth. After giving up a leadoff single to Anthony Gose and a stolen base, Archer fell behind 3-0 to Maicer Izturis, only to get him to fly out. He’d then retire the heart of the Jays order, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, on flyouts to thwart the threat.
Archer was helped by some great defense, including another stellar play by Evan Longoria at third and a leaping catch against the leftfield wall by Matt Joyce in the fifth.
The Rays had a few more chances against Redmond, the fourth St. Pete native to ever start at the Trop. Tampa Bay had baserunners at second base in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but couldn’t knock them in. In the sixth, Joyce had a one-out double, and Longoria intentionally walked for Wil Myers, who grounded into an inning-ending 5-3 double play on the next pitch.
Archer would give up his only run in the seventh, when Encarnacion ripped a two-out, two-strike homer to left to tie the game.
The Rays had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the bottom half, chasing Redmond as back-to-back singles by James Loney and Escobar put runners on first and third with no outs. But Jason Bourgeois, pinch-hitting for Kelly Johnson, attempted to bunt but missed, and pinch-runner Sean Rodriguez was caught too far off third, getting caught in a rundown.