In a bizarre turn of events, catcher Jesus Sucre was brought on to try to close a Rays win
While #WeirdBaseball officially begins after midnight local time, the Rays and Marlins teamed up for one that puts other bizarre games to shame on Tuesday night. Heading into the top of the 16th, the two teams were tied, 4-4. But then the Rays finally broke through with five runs after going scoreless since the second inning. Unfortunately, in the middle of the five-run rally, reliever Vidal Nuño -- who picked up his second hit of the game and season -- pulled up lame with a leg injury while running to first base. That meant, when the bottom of the inning began, there was no pitcher warmed up and ready to go. Enter: backup catcher Jesús Sucre. Though this was his third career pitching appearance, make no mistake, he is no Mitch Moreland-type with a blazing fastball. He was on the mound to hopefully not give up too many hits before the next Rays reliever could get warmed up. Despite the lack of scout-pleasing stuff, he actually pitched quite well. Lewis Brinson led off with a single that only made it through the hole because the Rays had shifted. Yes, even with a catcher on the mound, the team still went into the shift. Derek Dietrich next snuck a grounder up through the middle that no one could glove. Starlin Castro then hit a soft liner past the third baseman and into left field. Want to talk about bad batted ball luck, it was all here. Three softly hit balls that all landed for hits.
Fortunately, Sucre would get at least one out. And, of course, it came on perhaps the hardest hit ball of the inning.
Though it wasn't a scoreless inning and the Marlins were still threatening when Sucre was pulled for actual pitcher José Alvarado, the catcher couldn't help but flash a smile as he walked off the field. Hey, baseball's supposed to be fun.
It wasn't the easiest game for Alvarado, though. Though he would hold on to give the Rays a 9-6 victory, he did walk Dan Straily to bring the tying run to the plate. "Definitely not how you draw it up in a lot of different ways," Rays third baseman Matt Duffytold MLB.com's Bill Chastain. "Typically in a 16-inning game, there's going to be some ugly things, and there was today. "Then we had Sucre start the 16th," Duffy giggled. "And they had Straily pinch-hit. So, obviously, not an ideal day, but happy to come out with the win." After midnight, man -- things get weird.