Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Jonny Gomes' homer sends Tampa Bay Rays to 4-3 loss in 12 innings to Oakland Athletics

ST. PETERSBURG — The sound of Saturday's 4-3, 12-inning loss to the A's was actually rather lively.

Despite being done in by ex-mate Jonny Gomes after wasting numerous opportunities along the way in one of their sloppiest nights of the season, their six-game overall and 10-game home winning streaks snapped, the Rays didn't take it too hard.

Not with a three-piece mariachi band playing in their clubhouse afterward, players clapping and a few dancing along then cheering as they had the suit-clad musicians pull the cord on the lamp usually reserved for victories.

"We try not to hang our heads for too long,'' first baseman Carlos Peña said, "and even though it was definitely a tough loss — it hurt — why not dance our pain away, I guess. Let's just say that if we would have won, the party would have been a lot better.''

Though they still have the top record in the majors at 19-9, the Rays, on this night, certainly didn't look like the best team, stranding runners, making errors, failing to take advantage of repeated chances before a Tropicana Field crowd of 23,890.

"It's a tough one to swallow," second baseman Ben Zobrist said. "But we've been winning so much lately something like that was bound to happen."

The end was painful enough, Gomes, their former sparkplug they still rave about, homering off Joel Peralta to open the 12th.

"An extra-inning home run is nice to have on your resume, absolutely,'' said Gomes, who is 6-for-14 with two homers vs. the Rays. "It's not to rub it in Tampa's face, or 'it's awesome' because it's against my old team. At this point, I have a whole bunch of ex-teams.

"I have nothing but respect for the guys over there and the organization as a whole. I'm not playing harder against them or anything like that. But it's good to get a win against the best team in baseball."

Said Peralta: "It's on me, I'm supposed to be better than that.''

The home run was only part of Gomes' tale, as he made a stunning running, leaping catch at the wall to rob Peña of a double in the 10th, Rays manager Joe Maddon seen mouthing the word, "Unbelievable."

"I was amazed at the catch itself, it was a great catch,'' Peña said. "I think all of us were very shocked when he actually came up with that ball. But that's the way he goes, hard every single time.''

Worse for the Rays was the reality of how they did themselves in.

Three times, in the ninth, 10th, and 11th, they had a chance to win and failed, and were 0-for-7 overall with runners in scoring position. They were sloppy in the field. And they didn't get a good start from Jeremy Hellickson, who lasted only 32/3 innings, the shortest of his 39 major-league starts, as he threw 102 pitches.

There was plenty of action early as the A's took 2-0 and 3-1 leads, then the Rays flexed their muscle to tie it, with homers by Elliot Johnson, Zobrist and Peña leading off the third, fourth and fifth innings.

But that was just a prelude to the late-night drama.

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