Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ben Zobrist's two-run homer in 11th lifts Tampa Bay Rays to 3-1 win over Texas Rangers

ST. PETERSBURG — Ben Zobrist isn't one to show much emotion on the field during a game.

But Friday night's 3-1, 11-inning win over the Rangers in front of 19,545 at Tropicana Field was no ordinary night for the Zobrist family. Zobrist's wife, Christian pop singer Julianna, started it off by singing the national anthem, and he finished it 3 hours, 32 minutes later with the first walkoff homer of his life, a two-run blast with no outs in the 11th.

"That was really exciting," Zobrist said. "I'm just really happy we all got to experience a really fun night."

Zobrist exuberantly raised his right arm to the roof as he made the turn at first base and lifted Tampa Bay (76-62) to its fourth win its past five games. The victory also pulled the Rays within one game of Baltimore for the second AL wild-card spot and within two games of the East-leading Yankees.

"That may be the first time in major-league baseball history that happens, when the wife sings the anthem and then the husband hits a walkoff homer," manager Joe Maddon said. "I really, really believe that might be a first."

It was also a big night for reliever Wade Davis, who became the seventh Ray to pick up a win on his birthday. Davis, who turned 27, struck out the side in the 10th and two more in the 11th, continuing his impressively smooth transition this season from the rotation to the bullpen.

"Wade was spectacular," Maddon said. "That first inning of Wade was about as electric as you're going to see out of any relief pitcher."

It was a stellar night of pitching all around. Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson set the tone with six strong innings, allowing just one run (a solo homer by Michael Young in the fifth). "Otherwise," Maddon said, "he was almost perfect."

But Rangers left-hander Derek Holland was better, holding the Rays to two hits while striking out a career-high 11 in eight innings.

"That was the best I've ever seen him," Maddon said.

Third baseman Evan Longoria gave the Rays their first hit with a solo homer in the fourth, his fifth in his past 11 games and 11th for the season.

The score remained tied through 10, thanks to impressive work by both bullpens, including Rays right-handers Kyle Farns­worth, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney each tossing a perfect inning. Combined with Davis, they retired 14 of the last 15 Rangers, who entered the night as the highest-scoring team in the majors.

The road-weary, AL West- leading Rangers arrived around 4 a.m. Friday on the last leg of their 10-game trip. They didn't have hard-throwing relievers Alexi Ogando and Mike Adams available, so they turned to fellow right-hander Mark Lowe in the 11th, and he walked B.J. Upton to lead off the inning.

Zobrist watched two sliders go for balls, then pulled a 2-and-0 fastball 386 feet into the rightfield seats, tying him for the team lead with 23 tying or go-ahead RBIs this season.

As for Zobrist's wife, Maddon said she's welcome back anytime to sing the anthem.

"I'm sure she'd be ready and willing," Zobrist said, "if that's always the outcome."

Rays 3

Rangers 1

11 Innings

Ben Zobrist's two-run homer in 11th lifts Tampa Bay Rays to 3-1 win over Texas Rangers 09/07/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 8, 2012 12:53am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. With trade freeze over, Lightning could be active

    Blogs

    With the dust settling on the expansion draft saga, the Lightning can now focus on addressing some of its needs.

  2. NBA draft: Jonathan Isaac could make FSU history tonight

    Blogs

    Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac will probably hear his name called early in tonight's NBA draft.

  3. USF walk-on tight end Palmore faces charge of credit card fraud

    Crime

    A University of South Florida football player faces charges of fraudulent use of a credit card and petit theft following his arrest by Temple Terrace police on Monday.

    USF senior tight end Adrian Palmore faces charges of fraudulent use of a credit card and petit theft after his arrest by Temple Terrace police on June 19, 2017. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Rowdies defender gets the call to represent Jamaica

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG —- Damion Lowe has loved his first season with the Rowdies but has some other soccer-related business that might pull him away for a bit.

    Family business, too.

    Tampa Bay Rowdies defender Damion Lowe collides with Louisville City FC forward Luke Spencer earlier this year.
  5. Sarasota's Scooter Gennett: Utility man turned historic slugger

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On June 10, 2009, the Brewers selected a Sarasota High School shortstop in the 16th round of the MLB draft. He'd assembled an impressive resume in prep ball, but as one of more than 1,500 players drafted that year, he had a tough road to the big leagues.

    Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett (4) of Sarasota makes the throw to first as Rays DH Trevor Plouffe (14) grounds into a double play at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Monday, June 19, 2017. For Gennett, the three-game series this week with the Rays was his first trip back to Tampa Bay since his historic four-home run game June 6, 2017 against St. Louis. DIRK SHADD   |   Times