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Cleveland Indians beat Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 with walkoff walk

CLEVELAND — There was a lot the Rays did to try to win Tuesday's rain-delayed game against the Indians, rallying three times to even the score.

But they did even more to lose it, from a rough start by Ohio native Andy Sonnanstine to a worse ending, Kyle Farns­worth walking Michael Brantley to force in the winning run in the ninth to seal the 5-4 walkoff walk defeat.

That was the season-high 11th walk for the Rays, who also made defensive miscues that allowed two runs to score in the sixth and missed several signs.

"Too many walks. And we made some mistakes that we can't make, also," manager Joe Maddon said. "They scored three runs — one on a passed ball, one on a bases-loaded walk and one where we failed to cover second. So out of the five runs they scored, three we kind of gave to them. And that's not our game."

The loss dropped the Rays to 20-15 and out of first place and snapped their team record-matching eight-game road winning streak.

The final inning didn't start well, as Joel Peralta walked Shin-Soo Choo on four straight balls then fell behind Carlos Santana, who eventually singled, sending Choo to third.

Maddon tried to manage the Rays out of the mess, intentionally walking Travis Hafner to load the bases then bringing in Elliot Johnson to switch to the five-man infield. They got one out when Reid Brignac made a leaping stab and fired home.

But Farnsworth went from 0-and-2 on Brantley to a full count to walking off the mound in defeat, allowing his first walk of the season to the 48th batter he faced.

"It was a fastball, and I threw it in the dirt," said Farnsworth. "It's just one of those things. You just got to hang with 'em."

The game — delayed 1:35 at the start more by the threat than actual rain — went back and forth, the Indians going ahead, the Rays battling to tie and turning three double plays to keep it close.

Grady Sizemore knocked Sonnanstine's third pitch over the rightfield wall. Matt Joyce, who finished the night leading the AL with a .356 average, tied it with an impressive counter shot in the fourth.

Sonnanstine allowed another homer to Brantley, and Joyce tied it again in the sixth, with a double that scored Ben Zobrist.

The Indians went ahead again with two in the sixth as the Rays got a little sloppy. That was after rookie reliever Brandon Gomes loaded the bases on a single and two walks and Juan Cruz knocked down but couldn't hold on to a liner, getting only the force at the plate.

A ground ball up the middle scored one run, as Zobrist grabbed it but Sean Rodriguez, starting at short, couldn't/didn't cover the base in time. "He still would have beat the throw even if I'm on the bag," Rodriguez said. "That's just a tough play."

Another scored on a passed ball by John Jaso, though at least it was somewhat amusing as Cruz's pitch bounced up and knocked a ball out of home plate umpire Dale Scott's bag, and it landed closer to the plate than the one Jaso chased after.

But the Rays came back and tied it again. Kelly Shoppach delivered one run on a pinch-hit single, and Evan Longoria tied it with a homer in the eighth.

Sonnanstine, making his first start in place of injured Jeff Niemann, didn't last as long as the weather delay, working only 31/3 innings, primarily because he walked five (the third straight Rays starter to do so), allowing two runs on four hits while throwing 68 pitches. He was fortunate that was all the damage, as the Rays turned a double play to get him out of further trouble in the first, and Travis Hafner was just foul on a drive that would have been a three-run homer in the third.

Maddon said the lack of command was his biggest issue: "It looked like he had his normal stuff, just not throwing it where he wanetd to.''

"I don't think the rain delay helped, but the command needs to be better,'' Sonnanstine said. "Other than the walks I felt like I competed in some tough situations and was happy about that.''

Sonnanstine grew up less than an hour from Cleveland but probably should keep his return visits social, as he is now 0-3 with a 9.68 ERA in four starts here.

"It's very frustrating," he said. "I'd like very much to perform well in front of family and friends and a lot of people who have touched my life and helped me get to where I am today. It's very frustrating.''

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Cleveland Indians beat Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 with walkoff walk 05/11/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 9:12am]

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