Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays rally to beat Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG — At some point, manager Joe Maddon has insisted, the line drives will have eyes, the ground balls will find holes and the zeros on the scoreboard will be replaced by heroes at the plate.

It happened Friday as the Rays not only snapped out of their collective batting slump but ended their four-game losing streak with an 11-5 come-from-behind win over the Yankees before 26,079 at Tropicana Field.

The Rays banged out 16 hits and scored all of their runs with two outs in their biggest outburst since scoring nine runs on opening day March 31.

James Loney, who had only five RBIs all season coming in, drove in four, including a single in the seventh that gave the Rays (8-9) their first lead in 42 innings dating to April 12. Sean Rodriguez added a two-run homer in the eighth, his third of the year.

"I'd like to believe this is a definite reboot kind of game," Maddon said.

"Offensively, we've been talking about it for a long time. We even had a lot of hard-hit balls caught tonight. Finally, we got a couple of balls to find some grass or between the defenders. I'm really proud of the guys for not caving in."

Trailing 4-0 after only two innings and 5-3 in the seventh, the Rays' biggest bats came alive.

"We got a lot of two-out hits from guys we're going to depend on and lean on all season," Rodriguez said. "This can definitely get us going in the right direction."

Loney also hit a two-run double. Evan Longoria had three singles. Wil Myers — mired in an 0-for-14 slump — had three hits, including an RBI single in the sixth to end the night of Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda.

"It feels pretty good," Myers said. "I don't think I'd had an RBI since the third game of the year. I just got some pitches out over the plate, and I was able to do something with it."

With three pitchers on the disabled list, the Rays turned to 35-year-old lefty Erik Bedard, who was unable to secure a roster spot in spring training and took an assignment at Triple-A Durham.

Bedard lasted only 3⅔ innings, allowing four runs — all in the second inning — on six hits. Three came on a bases-loaded double by Scott Sizemore.

But thanks to the relief work of righty Brad Boxberger, the Rays stayed in the game long enough to get their bats going.

Boxberger struck out Derek Jeter to end the fourth and worked two scoreless innings. He was optioned to Durham after the game with a corresponding move to come today. But Maddon credited him for the win.

"He's a really, really major reason why we won that game," he said. "He came in with runners on first and second and gets Jeter to strike out."

The Rays tacked on five runs in the eighth — but they paid for it. Yankees reliever Cesar Cabral plunked three batters before being ejected by plate umpire Joe West. "He just had a hard time throwing the ball over the plate," Maddon said. "There was nothing malicious about what he was doing. I think Joe West did exactly the right thing."

By far, the biggest moment was Loney's two-run single that gave the Rays their first lead in nearly a week.

Said Maddon: "It became more believable."

     
   
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