Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rookie John Jaso has five RBIs as Tampa Bay Rays salvage finale of series against Texas Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — The trip and splattering fall rookie John Jaso took going around second base in the fifth inning is what he's going to hear the most about from Sunday's game.

But it was what the new leadoff hitter did before and after the unintended comedy that the Rays were talking most about, driving in five runs to deliver a much-needed 9-5 win over the Rangers.

Manager Joe Maddon doesn't often talk about the importance of a single game, but he did early Sunday afternoon, saying that a victory would make the 3-3 trip to Toronto, where they survived two umpiring controversies and made two ninth-inning comebacks, and Texas, where they played in extreme heat, feel like a winner.

"I now consider this an excellent road trip," Maddon said.

They needed it, avoiding a series sweep and their first losing trip while maintaining their two-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East and increasing their majors-best record to 37-20.

Maddon unconventionally moved Jaso to the leadoff spot Saturday, citing his ability to work good at-bats and get on base often. He reached only once Saturday (on an error) and struck out, as the DH, to start Sunday's game.

But then he started doing what he has done since being called up April 13 (and what seems likely to send catcher Dioner Navarro to the minors), which is to say have good at-bats, take balls and swing at strikes. The two-run homer in the third put the Rays up 2-1, the two-run single in the eighth expanded the lead from 5-4 to 7-4 and the double in the ninth added the final run. He is hitting .307, with a .423 on-base percentage and 23 RBIs in his 34 games.

"This guy, at-bat per at-bat, works it as well as anybody we have on this team right now," Maddon said. "He's a mature hitter. There's things he has to learn regarding the game, and the game here, but as a hitter he's very mature because he knows his strike zone."

In between, he provided the entertainment. Having reached on an error in the fifth, he was trying to go first-to-third on Evan Longoria's single — running like a leadoff hitter — when he wiped out and was easily thrown out.

"I don't know what happened," Jaso said. "Blew a flat tire out there. That was good. Everybody had a good laugh. Good stuff."

The Rays had lost the first two games of the series and looked bad in doing so, blowing a 4-0 lead Friday and playing one of their sloppiest all-around games Saturday, with starters Wade Davis and James Shields both getting hit around.

And playing Sunday in what Maddon termed "excruciating" conditions — 93 degrees at the start of what became a 4-hour, 6-minute game, the second-longest nine-inning affair in franchise history — they overcame.

Matt Garza wasn't particularly sharp, allowing four runs on six hits and throwing 108 pitches in less than six innings, but he got his first win in more than a month. Slumping Carlos Peña had two hits, including a homer. And B.J. Upton had his first three-hit game of the year.

"I'm really proud of our guys," Maddon said.

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Rookie John Jaso has five RBIs as Tampa Bay Rays salvage finale of series against Texas Rangers 06/06/10 [Last modified: Monday, June 7, 2010 7:14am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays relishing surprise status

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays on Friday played their first post-All-Star Game contest at Tropicana Field while holding a playoff spot since Sept. 23, 2013.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 21, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    So, that's what …

    Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brad Miller (13) gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after his solo home run in the fourth inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 21, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: FS1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  4. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    Looks like LF Corey Dickerson is coming out of his funk at the plate — .186 average in past 16 games entering Friday. He had two hits Wednesday in Oakland and three hits Friday against the Rangers. Okay, one was an infield hit that bounced high in front of the plate, but the other was a long home run to …

  5. History shows Ole Miss upheaval tough to overcome


    After Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze resigned Thursday, with the opener six weeks away, offensive line coach Matt Luke is being thrown into an interim head coaching position. He will try to save a season that already had been scarred by a self-imposed bowl ban for NCAA violations.

    After coach Jim Tressel resigned, Ohio State went 6-7, including a loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl, in 2011.