Rays celebrate walkoff win over Red Sox
The Rays haven't had a lot to celebrate this season, so they made sure to enjoy themselves after a 4-3 10-inning walk off win over the Red Sox.
Matt Joyce delivered the winning run with a fly ball over the outfield to score Sean Rodriguez, marking the Rays first walkoff win since May 24, and just their fourth total.
Ryan Hanigan started the rally, lacing a liner down the leftfield line and sliding in headfirst to second, the call standing after a replay challenge by Red Sox manager John Farrell. The Sox then had Burke Badenhop intentionally walk rookie Kevin Kiermaier. After Ben Zobrist bunted the runners up, the Sox intentionally walked Wil Myers to load the bases for Joyce.
With the win, the Rays split the four-game series with the last-place Red Sox, improving to 67-71 as they seek to stay on the fringe of the American League wild-card race and push for a seventh straight winning season.
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the third before the Labor Day gathering of 10,543 at Tropicana Field. Starter Drew Smyly had retired the first eight, but issued a two-out walk to No. 9 hitter Christian Vazquez and then allowed a well-struck double to left-center by rookie Mookie Betts.
The Rays came back with three runs in their third. Ryan Hanigan got them started with a leadoff single, and Ben Zobrist rolled a ball toward third for a one-out infield single. Wil Myers drove a ball down the rightfield line for a double to score the first run. After Matt Joyce struck out, Evan Longoria came through with a clutch hit, fouling off the first 2-2 pitch then lining the next up the middle for a two-run single.
The Red Sox got one of the runs back quickly in the fourth, when Mike Napoli, serving as the DH with David Ortiz getting a day off, knocked a 2-2 pitch over the leftfield wall.
Smyly was not quite as sharp as he had been, but good enough to get into the sixth inning, leaving to a nice ovation with two out and on one. Brad Boxberger finished that inning and then the next.
But the Rays gave the lead up in the eighth. Mookie Betts singled with one out off Jeff Beliveau and went to second on an slow bouncer to the mound. Steve Geltz, called up from Triple-A for his Rays debut, allowed a full-coutn single to Yeonis Cespedes, with Betts coming around to score.
The Rays open a three-game series with the Blue Jays on Tuesday, with Jeremy Hellickson taking on knuckleballing nemesis R.A. Dickey.