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)

Tampa Bay Rays come back after blowing lead, beat Boston Red Sox 6-5 in 11 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Maybe the Rays really do have something special working.

Because Saturday night, they scored a huge victory in spite of themselves, winning the exact kind of game that had slipped away so many times this season, pockmarked by wasted opportunities and topped by a blown save by Kyle Farnsworth, who has elbow issues.

But this time, they came out on top, winning 6-5 in 11 innings when Evan Longoria singled in Desmond Jennings to spark their team-record 12th walkoff celebration of the season. Even better, it was the struggling Red Sox who were trudging off.

With the win, the Rays continued their amazing march back into contention, moving to within 4½ games of the Red Sox — the closest they've been to the wild-card spot since July 16 — though with only 18 games left. They also improved to a season-best 16 games over .500 at 80-64, the result of a 21-10 streak since Aug. 8 that is the best in the AL East teams as they made up 51/2 games in the wild-card race.

"Everybody believes that we can do this," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "There's no question in my mind. Especially now. We validated the charge over the last two days."

The Sox, meanwhile, continue to be co-conspirators, losing their fourth straight, sixth of seven and ninth of 12.

"We're not playing good baseball," Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. "That has to change. The way we're playing now is not going to fly. I don't care if we got a few runs to make it close. We needed more."

Jennings started the rally off Boston's Daniel Bard with a drive to right-center that tailed away and landed just out of the reach of diving centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and shy of rightfielder Darnell McDonald. "I guess I put it in a perfect spot between them," Jennings said.

Francona eschewed anything tricky, such as walking the bases loaded, and instead let Bard play it out. He got B.J. Upton to ground to first and got ahead of Longoria 0-and-2, but Longoria swung at a high fastball and knocked it into center — the Rays' first hit of the night in 14 at-bats with a runner in scoring position.

"I was just trying to put the bat on the ball," said Longoria, who ended up with the fifth walkoff hit of his career.

For much of the night, before a boisterous and split red-blue Tropicana Field crowd of 24,566, it appeared the Rays were going to win in spite of themselves.

But two outs from victory in the ninth, Farnsworth allowed back-to-back home runs on two-strike pitches to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ellsbury.

Dustin Pedroia followed with a double — hustling out of the box and sliding in headfirst to beat Upton's throw to second — and Gonzalez walked. Maddon pulled Farnsworth — who expects to be out at least a few days due to a recurrence of the tenderness that sidelined him last month — and lefty Cesar Ramos came through in a treacherous situation, getting dangerous David Ortiz to ground into a double play, Sean Rodriguez hanging in to make the turn and Casey Kotchman a scoop on the back end.

Ramos was one of three young relievers to step up. Jake McGee retired Gonzalez on a weak groundout in a key situation in the seventh, and Brandon Gomes, the rookie from Fall River, Mass., got the final four outs for the win.

"Look at those young guys," Maddon said. "That's pretty impressive."

So, too, is the Rays' late run.

"That's nice, isn't it," Maddon said. "I'll take it. And I'll take the mental and physical effort level of our group right now.

"To win that is pretty significant."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Tampa Bay Rays come back after blowing lead, beat Boston Red Sox 6-5 in 11 innings 09/10/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 11, 2011 12:54am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates hitting a two-run home run as Derek Norris #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the eighth inning of the game on May 27, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rays 5-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010973
  2. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  3. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  4. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  5. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]