ST. PETERSBURG -- Daniel Robertson's walk-off grand slam, the first in the history of the franchise, gave the Rays a 6-4 win over the Marlins Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.Tampa Bay's win came after the Marlins won the first two games of the three-game series between the in-state rivals. While
ST. PETERSBURG -- Daniel Robertson's walk-off grand slam, the first in the history of the franchise, gave the Rays a 6-4 win over the Marlins Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay's win came after the Marlins won the first two games of the three-game series between the in-state rivals. While the Marlins won four out of six this season, Sunday's win gave the Rays a 57-56 all-time advantage, and it snapped a three-game losing skid.
Jake Bauers doubled off Kyle Barraclough to start the winning rally. C.J. Cron followed with a single to center before Ji-Man Choi singled to center to score Bauers and cut the lead to 4-2.
Two outs later, Willy Adames, who was called up before the game, walked to load the bases. That's when Rays manager Kevin Cash sent Robertson to the plate as a pinch-hitter.
Robertson had been in a funk recently, entering Sunday's game in the middle of an 8-for-45 stretch in his last 12 games. He stayed ready by hitting in the cage behind the Rays dugout.
"I was in the cage with [Rays batting practice pitcher Manny Navarro] all day," Robertson said. "I was joking with him, I was like, 'Man, I feel good. Mark my word, I'm going to turn this around.'"
Robertson did just that, connecting on a 1-0 pitch, sending his eighth home run of the season into the left-field stands.
"I just wanted something over the plate to put an easy swing on it," Robertson said. "I was telling them earlier that with [Mallex Smith] on second, if I found a little turf out there that it would tie the game. I put a better swing on it than that and got it over the fence."
The Rays found themselves facing a three-run deficit after Chris Archer ran into a rough patch in the second inning. Despite giving up four runs in the frame, Archer was on his game, striking out a season-high 13.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Smith batted with one out and two aboard in the ninth. Facing Barraclough, Smith battled the Marlins closer for 10 pitches before grounding into a forceout on the 11th pitch. Hunter Wood, who pinch-ran for Choi, slid hard into second base and prompted a meeting between umpires to determine if a review was necessary. The game would resume without a review, but Smith's at-bat took its toll on Barraclough, who reached 40 pitches on the fateful pitch he threw to Robertson for the walk-off.
"[Smith] fouled off a bunch of pitches, a bunch of quality pitches," Cash said. "You could tell the way Mallex was swinging, they were probably [just off the plate]. With two strikes he had to sit there and battle. Made [Barraclough] work to get to a 3-2 count, then continued and continued to work. I know he didn't get a hit. But you have to think that had some type of effect [on Barraclough]."
According to Stats LLC, Sunday's win was the first for the Rays when they were trailing by at least three runs in the ninth inning or later since Sept. 20, 2012, against Boston.
HE SAID IT
"D-Rob, he's been huge for us all year this year, so for him to come up clutch was amazing, especially against their closer, who has had a heck of a year so far." -- Archer, on Robertson's walk-off grand slam
Wood gets the nod Monday when the Rays welcome the Yankees to Tropicana Field for a 7:10 p.m. ET contest. Wood, who will be making his second start, has pitched to a 2.45 ERA and has held opponents to a .184 average in seven appearances since his recall, his first extended action in the Major Leagues. Right-hander Luis Severino will start for the Yankees.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.