Given green light, Beckham delivers game winner
Rookie second baseman barely misses HR on 3-0 count
ST. PETERSBURG -- Tim Beckham keeps delivering the big hits.
Saturday night a lot of things had to click for the Rays' offense in order for Beckham to get his chance. But when that chance came, the rookie infielder cashed in the opportunity.
Beckham's two-run double in the eighth broke a tie game to give the Rays a 4-2 win.
The rally began with two outs when Evan Longoria dropped a single into right. David DeJesus followed with a single to right before pinch-hitter James Loney doubled home Longoria. That brought Beckham to the plate to face hard-throwing right-hander Miguel Castro with the score tied at 2.
"I was just hoping I had a chance to get another at-bat, man," Beckham said. "I struck out twice tonight looking. I wasn't too happy about that. That's not what I like to do. Nobody likes to do it. But I definitely don't like to strike out looking. Just wanted to get another AB, and another opportunity to hit the ball hard. Hopefully some runners on base and get some RBIs."
Beckham got ahead in the count 3-0 when he swung at a slider that he thought would clear the wall in left.
"I didn't get it clean off the barrel, but I put a good swing on it," Beckham said. "He was throwing the ball pretty hard. Thought I had enough to get it out of here."
While a three-run homer would have been better, Beckham's double sufficed as it chased home DeJesus and Loney for a two-run cushion that the Rays would hold when Brad Boxberger nailed down the save in the ninth.
Ironically, Beckham has hit three home runs this season, all of them coming on two-strike counts. This time Beckham found himself in a different situation.
"To get the 3-0 green light, I was ready to go," Beckham saiid. "I just wanted to see the ball down in the zone and not get too long. Early in the game I got too long on a 2-0 and a little long on a 3-1. Just wanted to stay short to the ball. ... Just get the barrell on it and hopefully some good things would happen."
Longoria stated the obvious when he noted that Beckham "has been huge for us."
"Really impressive the at-bats that he's put together," Longoria said. "We haven't seen a lot of Castro, but he's not easy on right-handed hitters. He works himself to 3-0 and then puts a good swing on a ball that was up in the zone. It was probably a ball."
Beckham's hit made him the first Rays rookie to drive in two or more runs on a 3-0 pitch since Jonny Gomes hit a two-run homer off Gustavo Chacin on July 15, 2005 at Toronto.