Monday, February 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays beat Mariners on bases-loaded walk in 13th inning

ST. PETERSBURG — As he prepared to bat with the bases-loaded in the bottom of the 13th inning late Wednesday night, Logan Morrison turned to home plate umpire Sean Barber and asked how he was doing.

"He said, 'I'm doing all right.' I said, 'You're doing better than me. That day game is going to kick my butt (today). He said, 'Me, too.' I said, 'Hopefully we can end it here,' " Morrison said. "And that was that."

The game ended with that at-bat when Morrison looked at ball four from Mariners left-hander Mike Montgomery, forcing Logan Forsythe home with the winning run in the Rays 3-2 victory.

The walk-off walk, played in front of a Tropicana Field crowd of 12,239 — some of whom remained at the end of the game — ended a long and frustrating night for both sides.

The Rays tied their club record by striking out 19 times. They were 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 18 runners on base.

The Mariners pitchers walked 11 batters and the hitters were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners during the game.

"Another great win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "That was a pretty exciting game. I guess it got boring there for a couple of innings. Nice to see us pull it out."

The winning rally began with a one-out triple by Forsythe and did not include Evan Longoria, who left the game that inning with tightness in his left forearm. Longoria, who had doubled and scored the tying run hours earlier in the sixth inning, was lifted for pinch-hitter Taylor Motter.

It was a startling turn of events for those still watching.

"It's something I've been dealing with," Longoria said. "Just sore. Every time I check swing it gets flared up. … It's a day-to-day thing."

Longoria checked his swing on ball four during his at-bat in the 11th inning. He remained in the game and even caught a pop up to end the top of the 13th inning.

"We felt it was probably smart to get him out of there," Cash said.

With the Rays and Mariners returning to the Trop this morning for a 1:10 p.m. start, it's a pretty good chance Longoria will sit out the series finale.

Wednesday's win, the ninth in their last 11 games, clinched the fourth straight series with for the Rays and moved them to within a game of .500 at 31-32.

"That's the most important thing is we're winning games," Longoria said. "We got guys contributing top to bottom and the goal is to win series at this point. That's a pretty good ball club out of there, so to take two out of two and have a chance to sweep is good for us."

The Rays have a chance this afternoon to sweep their third series of the season.

That they have this chance is due to Drew Smyly and the four relievers who followed him to the mound.

Smyly, pitching on nine days rest, responded well to the rest with one of his best outing since April.

Pitching coach Jim Hickey said Tuesday he expected him to be energized from the time off. It appeared Hickey was correct.

Smyly struck out a career-high 12 runs and allowed just two runs, which came on a two-run homer by Nelson Cruz in the fourth inning. He retired the first six batters he faced and the last eight, pitching himself out of a third inning jam when the Mariners put runners on the corners with no outs, but striking out the next two batters and getting the third out on a ground out.

"(It) was a great team win," Smyly said. "We battled. Our bullpen kept us in it and then our offense came up big in extras. I think it's a win that will propel us to the next level."

Corey Dickerson drove in the first two runs of the game for the Rays with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and a single in the sixth that scored Longoria.

Erasmo Ramirez followed Smyly to the mound and struggled somewhat before stranding runners at third in both the seventh and eighth innings.

Alex Colome pitched the ninth. Xavier Cedeno pitched 1⅓ innings. Matt Andriese, moved to the bullpen to make room in the rotation for today's starter, Blake Snell, pitched the final 2⅔, retiring eight of the nine batters he faced.

"Unbelievable job," Longoria said. "Andriese came in and closed the door for us, but the guys that came in before him were solid all year."

Forsythe tripled off Montgomery, the former Rays prospect traded before the start of the 2015 season for Ramirez.

Tim Beckham, pinch-hitting for Brad Miller, was struck on his left foot with a pitch. Motter, batting in place of Longoria, walked to load the bases.

Up next Morrison, who was 0-for6 on the night. Included was a groundout to third base with the bases-loaded that ended the 11th inning.

After his chat with Barber, Morrison stepped to the plate with one thought.

"Get him over the plate and hit the ball hard somewhere," he said. "It wasn't over the plate, so I didn't swing."

And that was that.

     
                                       
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