Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays beat Yankees in 14 innings

NEW YORK — The Rays felt they showed something Thursday when, playing a doubleheader they didn't want to, they swept the Red Sox in Boston.

Well, they showed something else Friday night — and early this morning — coming back after wasting a strong outing by David Price and two leads, surviving repeated threats with creative solutions, and beating the Yankees 10-5 in 14 innings in a game that took 5 hours, 49 minutes.

"How about that effort from everybody on that entire team throughout the evening,'' manager Joe Maddon said. "I am so impressed with our guys and their ability to stay motivated. It's pretty amazing. If you're a Rays fan you've got to be proud of your players right now.''

After Desmond Jennings walked and stole second with one out, the Rays got five consecutive run-scoring hits, by Wil Myers, Sean Rodriguez, Brandon Guyer, Yunel Escobar and Ryan Hanigan.

The win came after the game seemed lost as the Rays' overworked bullpen let a 4-2 lead in the eighth get away, then a 5-4 advantage in the ninth.

But they kept battling, winning a replay challenge that got them out of a bottom-of-the-ninth mess, turning a double play that featured eight throws — seven on dueling rundowns — in the 12th, using Myers at first base to get an out in a five-man infield alignment in the 13th and getting 21/3 adventurous but effective innings of relief out of Heath Bell before Josh Lueke finished a few minutes before 1 a.m.

"It was a crazy game,'' Maddon said.

And if you're keeping track, that was 32 innings of baseball over 36 hours in two cities — and three wins.

"Today is really a galvanizing moment, I want to believe, complementing yesterday,'' Maddon said.

"That says a lot about our team,'' catcher Jose Molina said.

The Rays (14-16) counted on Price to go deep into the game to provide some relief for their shorthanded bullpen — with closer Grant Balfour and lone lefty Jake McGee unavailable — but his solid seven innings didn't do it.

Trying to get the last six outs while hanging on to a 4-2 lead, manager Joe Maddon first summoned Joel Peralta, the most dependable of his options, but that didn't work. Peralta got two quick outs but allowed back-to-back homers by Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano in a three-pitch span.

The Rays came back to take the lead, Evan Longoria singling on an 0-and-2 pitch from closer David Robertson to score Ben Zobrist, who had reached on an infield single and stole second.

Maddon let Peralta start the ninth, still hoping he could finish the game, but after a leadoff single by Brian Roberts saw enough. He next tried Juan Carlos Oviedo, who got two ground ball outs — though Roberts stole third — but gave up a single to Jacoby Ellsbury that tied it again.

A successful replay challenge — Maddon's fourth in 11 tries — got the Rays out of the ninth. Brandon Gomes — their third pitcher of the inning — picked Ellsbury off first. He didn't initially, but Maddon used his replay challenge at the suggestion of first baseman James Loney, and an obviously bad call by umpire Doug Eddings was reversed.

They got more creative to escape a mess in the 12th. An infield single and an errant throw by Bell on a bunt left Yankees on first and second. Carlos Beltran hit a slow roller to second, and the Rays got one easy out at first, and another really complicated one as they first had Derek Jeter in a rundown between first and second then broke it off to instead nab Ellsbury trying to score.

The Yankees then made a challenge of their own in the 13th after Matt Joyce was called safe at first on the back end of what would have been a double play. It was after that call also was reversed, leaving the Rays with two outs and nobody on, that Maddon had enough, coming out to argue and getting ejected. Maddon said he argued to protest the process since he felt the replays he saw were clearly inconclusive so he wanted to know how it could be overturned.

They got creative again in the 13th after two singles and a groundout — that briefly looked like another duel rundown play — left Yankees on second and third.

The Rays went to a five-man infield with Myers at first base, and that worked when Brett Gardner grounded to Rodriguez — who threw to Myers, who preferred to use his outfield glove, for what technically was scored 3-9. They intentionally walked Ellsbury to face Jeter, who grounded out to cap his 0-for-7 night.

"Heath was outstanding,'' Maddon said. "He had to make some really difficult pitches at difficult moments.''

Fatigue may be an issue for the Rays, as they didn't get to their New York hotel until around 3:30 Friday morning, and after playing nearly six hours Friday night have a short turnaround as Saturday's game starts at 1:05.

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