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)

Tampa Bay Rays beat Detroit Tigers 3-2 on walkoff fielder's choice

ST. PETERSBURG — The weird way in which the Rays scored their 3-2, 10-inning walkoff win Wednesday might be best defined this way: Ben Zobrist scored the winning run and didn't know it.

"I really didn't have a clue," Zobrist said. "I thought we were switching sides again until I heard the crowd reaction and I looked over and Sean (Rodriguez) was fist-bumping and I was like, "Yeaaaaa, great.' "

Zobrist eventually joined the celebratory mob that formed around Rodriguez near second base, and asked the same question that so many others, on the field, in the dugouts, the stands and their living rooms had after what was officially a walk-off fielder's choice: "What happened?"

Rodriguez, whose hustle to second made the victory possible, didn't have time amid the tomfoolery for the details: "I was like, 'We won,' " he said. "That's all that matters."

In terms of beating the Tigers for the first time this season, improving to 70-58 and moving back within 7 ½ games of the American League wild card, Rodriguez was right on.

But what did happen made for pretty good conversation, too, as the Rays scored their fifth walkoff win of the month, and 10th of the season.

After a tremendous nine-inning start by Wade Davis, Evan Longoria's 22nd home run, Johnny Damon's 2,700th career hit and another slew of wasted chances, the Rays got to the bottom of the 10th tied 2-2 and had the bases loaded with two outs.

Elliot Johnson hit a hard ground ball pretty much right at Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge. Inge made the decision, at the least debatable if not questionable, to throw to second. Ramon Santiago, shifted toward first, broke to the base but Rodriguez, running all-out and sliding hard, beat the throw, allowing Zobrist to score the winning run.

Rodriguez said he anticipated a number of scenarios, including making sure he slid late so he was on the base, but he had only one thing in mind when Johnson hit the ground ball: "Get to second as quick as possible."

Johnson was among those surprised to see the game end because Inge threw to second rather than step on third or throw to first.

"I was amazed, I couldn't believe it," he said. "I wasn't even thinking about anything happening at second base."

But Inge, who had bobbled Zobrist's potential double-play grounder to set the rally in motion, insisted he made the right play since the ball was hit to his left. And, also, that second-base umpire Ed Rapuano blew the call.

"I thought he was out, and a lot of other guys did, too," Inge said. "It's not fun when it goes down like that and the game should still be going on."

There was one other element to the play, which was Johnson remembering to keep running to first. He must have still been excited after the game, because in saying he didn't want to commit a modern-day version of Merkle's Boner — a famous 1908 baserunning gaffe by Giants rookie Fred Merkle, who failed to advance to second on a walkoff hit — Johnson called it Finkle's Boner, making him the first person to confuse Merkle with a character from an Ace Ventura movie. Seriously.

Manager Joe Maddon, who preaches hustle above all else, was ready to make Rodriguez a model for the entire Rays organization.

"We win," Maddon said. "because of his effort, period."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Rays 3

Tigers 2

10 innings

Tampa Bay Rays beat Detroit Tigers 3-2 on walkoff fielder's choice 08/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 25, 2011 11:40am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener

    College

    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.