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)

Rays top Blue Jays 5-4; Lobaton's walkoff triple leaves Rays within one game of Boston

ST. PETERSBURG — Catcher Jose Lobaton's week had already been unique for nostalgic reasons: His parents, Tomas and Maria, were in town from Venezuela to watch him play for the first time in the United States.

When they saw Lobaton go 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in Tuesday's loss to Seattle, the 28-year-old got a little nervous.

"I'm like, 'Oh, please, I've got to do something better,' " Lobaton said.

Friday, Lobaton did something unforgettable and unexpected, coming through with a walkoff triple in the ninth inning to lift the Rays to a 5-4 victory over the Blue Jays in front of 15,433 at Tropicana Field.

Lobaton's first career walkoff hit and Tampa Bay's second walkoff win in three days brought the Rays (69-51) to within one game of the first-place Red Sox in the American League East.

"That's the best feeling I've ever had in my life in baseball," Lobaton said. "I wasn't expecting that. Thank God that actually happened."

Lobaton, who went 3-for-4 and also had a run-saving block in the top of the ninth, received several celebratory treats after getting mobbed at third base: Shortstop Yunel Escobar dumped the Gatorade bucket on him, reliever Joel Peralta gave him a whipped-cream pie in the face, and outfielder Matt Joyce served him an ice cream cup and ice cream sandwich.

"I figured a triple, man, he needs something," Joyce said.

But Lobaton's favorite moment was the photo he took with his beaming father just before heading inside for another clubhouse party.

"I saw my dad's face; he was pretty happy," Lobaton said. "That's kind of like what he wanted to see."

The Rays got the solid start they had hoped for from right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who had failed to last five innings in his previous three outings. He was much better Friday, going six innings and allowing just three runs while giving up nine hits.

Said Hellickson of his teammates, "It's amazing what these guys can do when you keep them within striking distance."

Manager Joe Maddon lauded the Rays' perseverance in rallying from two runs down at 3-1 in the sixth against Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who had been tough on them at the Trop, where he threw a one-hitter last season with the Mets and a two-hitter June 26. From Joyce's solo homer in the sixth, which snapped a 43-game homerless drought, to a two-run seventh, capped by Sam Fuld's two-out, go-ahead, opposite-field single, the Rays took a one-run lead into the eighth at 4-3.

"I really believe our players felt we were going to win that game," Maddon said. "There's no quit."

Not even after setup man Peralta gave the lead back in the eighth as the Jays tied it at 4.

Before Lobaton's hit, he may have saved the day in the top of the ninth. He blocked a Fernando Rodney changeup in the dirt with the go-ahead run at third base. Maddon called that one of the biggest plays of the game.

"I was telling (Escobar) after the inning, I didn't know how I caught that ball," Lobaton said. "I said, 'I think I can do something better in hitting.' "

That Lobaton did, hitting an outside fastball by lefty Aaron Loup into the rightfield corner, scoring Escobar from first. His teammates were shocked at the most unlikely of their nine walkoff hits this season. It was the third walkoff triple by a big-league catcher since 1994.

"I never would have guessed that one," Joyce said.

Rays top Blue Jays 5-4; Lobaton's walkoff triple leaves Rays within one game of Boston 08/16/13 [Last modified: Saturday, August 17, 2013 10:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Plenty of unfinished business for Mitchell volleyball

    Volleyball Preps

    TRINITY — Their previous trip to New Smyrna Beach turned out to be a joyride, resulting in the Mitchell Mustangs' first spot in the state volleyball semifinals.

    Mitchell High school’s Jessie Mooney serves the ball during the 6A State High School Championship volleyball finals game against  Jensen Beach High School at the Venue on the UCF campus in Orlando.
(11/14/2015  WILLIE J. ALLEN JR.]
  2. Charles Bottoms, right, with his wife, Annie, wore the Tim Tebow Broncos jersey to Steinbrenner Field "only because I didn't want to wear my good (signed Gators) Tebow one." [RYAN ROMANO | Times]
  3. Rays morning after: 5 mistakes that led to loss to Blue Jays

    Blogs

    We've already documented elsewhere what the Rays didn't do, how they failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity to win Wednesday's game, getting just one run after loading the bases in the seventh with one out and three of …

    Jake Faria make too many mistakes, the failure to execute costing him repeatedly.
  4. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.