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)

Jerry Sands lifts Rays to win over Orioles

ST. PETERSBURG — Manager Joe Maddon is planning extra fundamental work sessions during the 10-game homestand that opened Monday to get his Rays focused and mentally sharp. And he took the unusual step of acknowledging a sense of urgency in turning around their disappointing season.

But seeing is believing. And as the Rays rallied Monday to beat the Orioles 5-4, winning for the fourth time in their past five games, though still a majors-worst 28-43 there were some slight signs of hope.

"That's the thing, when you start believing you're going to win games late, that's the good feeling to get," Maddon said. "That's when you start getting good again. And we did. We won a game late (Sunday), we won a game late again (Monday).

"Let's keep the mojo going."

Jerry Sands is doing his part, delivering the decisive run on a pinch-hit for the second straight day. Sunday it was an RBI single, as he broke three bats. Monday, it took just one big swing in the eighth: a two-run pinch-hit homer.

"Obviously it's fun to be the guy that does it for the team," Sands said.

Sands became the first major-leaguer to come through with the winning RBI in a pinch in consecutive games since Howard Battle for Atlanta in 1999, and the first American Leaguer since Harold Baines in 1990.

The Rays needed him to step up after blowing a 3-0 lead, salvaging a solid start by Jake Odorizzi, taking advantage of homers by Yunel Escobar and Ryan Hanigan (his first since April 19) and surviving another bullpen episode.

The 3-0 lead was shaved to 3-2 in the sixth when Odorizzi, who allowed only an infield single over the first five innings, gave up a double then a two-strike homer to Adam Jones on an errant 0-and-2 fastball.

Maddon went to the bullpen, and that worked okay until the eighth. Grant Balfour, who already lost his closer's job, let them down again, allowing two singles, then getting one out on a hard liner.

Maddon saw enough and summoned Jake McGee, who had closed Sunday's game. But McGee walked Chris Davis on five pitches to load the bases for AL home-run leader Nelson Cruz. McGee did well to get him to hit it on the ground, but the high chopper to third handcuffed Evan Longoria, who couldn't make a play anywhere, allowing the tying run to score.

But these Rays weren't done. Longoria drew a leadoff walked from Darren O'Day in the eighth, followed by two quick outs. David DeJesus was to pinch-hit, but when the O's went to lefty Brian Matusz, Maddon switched to Sands, whom he didn't start vs. a lefty in order to have him for a late pinch-hit situation, liking his aggressiveness, fearlessness and power. And Sands delivered, with a soaring blast that tucked just inside the leftfield foul pole.

Citing the benefits of the committee approach in using McGee in the most critical situation, Maddon then closed with Juan Carlos Oviedo, who survived a solo homer.

Maddon has made it clear in words and actions, there is no time to waste: "We need to start pushing it right now.''

Marc Topkin can be reached at mtopkin@tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

Jerry Sands lifts Rays to win over Orioles 06/16/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 12:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium

    Bucs

    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  3. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot

    Blogs

    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.
  4. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  5. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018

    Blogs

    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.