photo credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images
Outfielder Wil Myers avoids second baseman Ben Zobrist while making a sliding catch in the first inning Thursday. Tampa Bay took the contest 7-5 in 11 innings.
by Steve Carney
The Rays blew two leads Thursday, but plated a pair in the 11th inning to take the finale of their four-game series with the Astros 7-5.
Tampa Bay needed to see Houston reliever Josh Fields for a second inning in order to break the 5-5 tie. Jose Lobaton walked to lead off the inning, and moved to second on a passed ball. Yunel Escobar then doubled into the right field corner to bring in the eventual go-ahead run. A flyout by Jennings would get Escobar to third base, and a wild pitch by Wesley Wright scored Escobar with some insurance.
Much like Wednesday's loss, the Rays scored in the topof the first inning, with Desmond Jennings doubling off Jordan Lyles to start the game, going to third on a single by Matt Joyce, and scoring on a groundout by Evan Longoria.
The game remained 1-0 until the fourth inning, when Brett Wallace hit a solo home run off Rays starter Chris Archer into the box seats in left to knot the contest.
Houston took the lead an inning later, as Brandon Barnes singled off Archer with one out. Jimmy Paredes then walked on a controversial ball four, and both runners moved up on stolen bases. Jake Elmore then lifted a fly ball to bring in Barnes for a 2-1 advantage.
The Rays drew even in the seventh on a wild pitch that brought in Escobar, who had reached on a fielder's choice and went to third on Jennings' second double of the afternoon.
Tampa Bay broke the tie an inning later as Longoria led off with a walk. Wil Myers doubled two batters later, moving pinch-runner Sam Fuld to third base. Kelly Johnson was intentionally walked, and Jose Lobaton's fielder's choice would bring in Fuld to make it 3-2. Escobar then doubled onto the hill in center to bring in both runners for a 5-2 advantage.
The Rays couldn't hold the lead though, as Joel Peralta gave up a three-run blast to Wallace in the bottom of the inning.
Tampa Bay comes home to begin a ten-game homestand leading to the All-Star break, with the Chicago White Sox coming in for the first three.