Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Detroit Tigers take 2-0 lead over Oakland A's in ALDS

DETROIT — Al Alburquerque snagged a sharp grounder to the mound, then planted a kiss on the ball before tossing it to first.

The relieved reliever gave his Detroit teammates a reason to laugh in the ninth inning of a tight game. Moments later, the Tigers were celebrating.

Don Kelly scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the eighth, then hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth that lifted the Tigers over the Athletics 5-4 Sunday for a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five AL Division Series.

Detroit overcame three A's leads for the victory. It was tied at 1 before a wild final three innings that included an error by Oakland centerfielder Coco Crisp, two tying wild pitches and several momentum changes.

Alburquerque kept it tied in the ninth when he got Yoenis Cespedes to hit a comebacker with men on first and third and two outs. He gave the ball a quick smooch before tossing to first.

"I just did it," he said. "It was the emotion of the game. I wasn't trying to be a hot dog."

Oakland outfielder Josh Reddick wasn't thrilled.

"We didn't appreciate that. I thought it was immature and not very professional," Reddick said. "You don't do that on the field. Save it for the dugout."

Detroit will go for a sweep Tuesday at Oakland.

Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera doubled twice for the Tigers, hit a fly ball that Crisp dropped for two runs and later singled in the ninth.

It was the sixth straight postseason loss for the A's, all to Detroit. The Tigers swept Oakland in the 2006 AL Championship Series.

Omar Infante and Cabrera hit back-to-back singles off former Rays pitcher Grant Balfour with one out in the ninth. With runners on first and third, Prince Fielder was intentionally walked, bringing up Kelly, who had stayed in the game as the DH after pinch-running the previous inning.

"Was looking for a fastball and I got it," Kelly said. "It's a great feeling, to be able to go out there in that situation and do that."

Kelly's fly to right was deep enough to score Infante without a play at the plate. It was another big playoff moment for Kelly, who homered last year when the Tigers beat the Yankees in the decisive fifth game of a division series.

A favorite of manager Jim Leyland, Kelly hit .186 during the regular season but made the postseason roster as a pinch-running option who can also play any position in the field.

"It takes everybody to contribute, and we got contributions from everybody," Leyland said.

Comments
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

UPDATE, 10:30: In addition to the Cardinals, the Rockies and Mets are considered hot in pursuit of Rays closer Alex Colome. …. Keep hearing the Angels as a potential landing spot for 3B Evan Longoria if the Rays deal him. … Rays manager K...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays manager Kevin Cash on trade speculation, bullpen staffing, Yankees addition of Giancarlo Stanton

Rays manager Kevin Cash on trade speculation, bullpen staffing, Yankees addition of Giancarlo Stanton

Rays manager Kevin Cash was first up in the media room at the winter meetings today and here are a few up the more interesting things he said:* On trade speculation regarding their veterans such as Chris Archer and Evan Longoria: "I know there is a l...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays cornerstone Evan Longoria “somewhere in limbo” due to trade speculation

Tampa Bay Rays cornerstone Evan Longoria “somewhere in limbo” due to trade speculation

Franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria considers his future with the Rays "somewhere in limbo" based on speculation he could be traded as part of a cost-cutting and rebuilding movement."I don't know what to think, really,'' Longoria told the Tampa Ba...
Published: 12/11/17
Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Uncertain with all the talk about potentially rebuilding if the Rays would go as far as trading franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria?So is he."I don’t know what to think, really,’’ Longoria said via text message Sunday night as t...
Updated: 10 hours ago
AL East life gets even tougher for Rays with Yankees acquiring slugger Giancarlo Stanton from Marlins

AL East life gets even tougher for Rays with Yankees acquiring slugger Giancarlo Stanton from Marlins

The Marlins apparently found a trade to Giancarlo Stanton's liking, reportedly striking a deal early Saturday to send the slugging outfielder to the Yankees.That's bad news for the Rays and the other AL East teams, who will now have to face Stanton &...
Published: 12/09/17
Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed takes part in event supporting fight against ALS

Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed takes part in event supporting fight against ALS

Tampa Bay Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed was up early Saturday to meet up with the Bladerunners team in Clearwater at the ALS Association Florida Chapter's annual Ride, Run, Roll to Defeat ALS, supporting Mike Leist, a former history teacher at St...
Published: 12/09/17
Winter Meetings Preview: Ranking the Rays most likely to be dealt

Winter Meetings Preview: Ranking the Rays most likely to be dealt

Rays officials head to Disney for this week’s winter meetings admitting they don’t know what they’re doing. Wait — that’s not exactly right. It’s more that they don’t know what they’re going to do.Having spent months collecting info and discussing op...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17
Dwight Gooden dons Santa suit, but scene is hardly festive

Dwight Gooden dons Santa suit, but scene is hardly festive

NEW YORK — In one sense, there was nothing unusual about what Dwight Gooden was doing Tuesday night. In the spirit of the holiday season, he had been summoned to dress like Santa Claus and, as a result, was decked out in a red suit and hat, a curly w...
Published: 12/08/17

Rays sue outgoing concessionaire over "sad history" of failures

The Tampa Bay Rays sued outgoing concessionaire Centerplate in U.S. District Court on Friday, alleging the company harmed the team’s reputation, damaged its facilities and did not pay a fair share of revenue as part of a "sad history of failing to fu...
Published: 12/08/17
Ohtani makes surprising decision in picking Angels; will face Rays in July at the Trop

Ohtani makes surprising decision in picking Angels; will face Rays in July at the Trop

Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani decided on his team Friday, and it was something of a surprise as he opted to sign with the Angels.The Mariners and Padres had emerged as the favorites from the seven teams that were chosen, from the full fiel...
Published: 12/08/17