ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays, for the sake of Kevin Cash's graying hair and other reasons, may eventually want to find an easier path to victory. But for now, they'll enjoy the dramatics.
As quiet for most of the night as the small crowd at the Trop, the Rays rallied to tie in the seventh inning and went ahead the next to beat the Indians 5-1. In all three of their victories, they have taken the lead with a home run in the eighth.
Tuesday, Logan Forsythe delivered the big blast, battling back to make an 0-and-2 count full then jumping on a rare mistake from Indians ace Corey Kluber to launch a 422-foot two-run homer to left-center that put them up 3-1. Evan Longoria added another two-run shot off reliever Cody Allen.
"It was a good win,'' Cash said. "We needed a good win right there.''
There was more to it, of course, as the Rays improved to 3-4 before a gathering of 10,283.
That starts with Matt Moore, who gave them a solid seven innings, allowing a solo homer to Francisco Lindor and only five hits total, though helped by his defense, specifically Longoria's play on a Juan Uribe smash to third. Xavier Cedeno worked the eighth and got the win, Alex Colome the ninth.
Moore was pleased with how he competed: "Just being able to keep us right there with an opportunity to win the game."
Before taking the lead, the Rays had to rally to tie. With two outs in the seventh, Corey Dickerson, thus far the most productive of the five new position players, sliced a low full-count pitch from Kluber to leftfield that Jose Ramirez played into a double. Desmond Jennings then delivered their first big hit, a run-scoring single.
Kevin Kiermaier, joking about now being known for his plate discipline, started the go-ahead rally with a one-out walk, then, anticipating a 1-and-2 breaking ball, swiped second as Hank Conger struck out.
That brought Forsythe, who homered to put the Rays ahead April 5, to the plate.
"My thought process was Kluber was great all night," Forsythe said. "I just really wanted to bear down and get something through the infield where KK was going to score. … I was trying to see the ball as much as I could. He came up with a fastball over the plate and I just got the barrel to it."
"It was a great at-bat,'' Longoria said. "Hang around, hang around, get a mistake.''
Cash has been hoping with an enhanced offense the Rays wouldn't play as many close games. Yet here are they are seven games in, scoring nearly half (11 of 23) their runs in the eighth or ninth, rallying three times when trailing after six innings (something they did only nine times all of last season).
What does Cash take from that? "Let's score a little earlier," he said. "But we'll take 'em however they come."