ST. LOUIS -- On an afternoon when solo homers accounted for all the scoring, Logan Morrison's 10th-inning blast bailed out a Rays bullpen that, for the second straight day, had struggled to hold a lead. Capping a day in which he reached the 30-homer plateau, Morrison powered past it to
ST. LOUIS -- On an afternoon when solo homers accounted for all the scoring, Logan Morrison's 10th-inning blast bailed out a Rays bullpen that, for the second straight day, had struggled to hold a lead. Capping a day in which he reached the 30-homer plateau, Morrison powered past it to lift the Rays to a 3-2 win and series victory at Busch Stadium.
"Exciting win for us obviously," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Today, guys bounced back. It kind of started with Lo-Mo, ended with Lo-Mo and then a lot of good Chris Archer in the middle. … "Any time you get a series win on the road, it's saying something. These are challenging teams that we are playing against."
In salvaging a win, the Rays kept pace in a packed American League Wild Card race where they still trail Minnesota by three games. The Cardinals, upon completing a 2-4 homestand, now set off on a 10-day road trip with a 4 1/2-game deficit to erase in the National League Central.
Over the first eight innings at Busch Stadium, the two clubs traded solo homers. Morrison and Brad Miller ("Rat") stung Cardinals starter Lance Lynn with long balls, before Kolten Wong ("Wonger") and Matt Carpenter ("Carp") evened the game.
Morrison's first home run made him the seventh different player in franchise history to hit the 30-homer mark. With one out in the 10th, he then teed off on Sam Tuivailala's 1-1 fastball to push Tampa Bay back in front.
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"I made the mistake of leaving it over the plate and he did the damage. That's all it took," said Tuivailala, who has allowed four home runs this season, all in the ninth inning or later. "I was pitching just fine. One mistake cost us the game, and obviously that's the one that hurt."
The multi-homer game was the seventh of Morrison's career and his third this season.
"Having never done it before, 30 is a pretty special club," Morrison said. "Hopefully I can keep swinging it and get into an even more special club."
The blast didn't come in time to reward Archer who, while wearing the nickname "Flaco Fuerte" for Players Weekend, left in line for the win after scattering five hits over his seven-inning start. Archer's chance to secure another 10-win season disintegrated when reliever Dan Jennings served up a game-tying homer to Carpenter.
"I think whenever you're at home and get to extra innings and have last night as fresh in your mind as you had it, you're anticipating that good things are going to happen," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Guys worked hard to get us back into that one and just solo shots hurt us today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Escape act: An inning after connecting for his fourth home run, Wong stepped to the plate in the eighth with an opportunity to give the Cardinals their first lead. Singles by Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina put runners on the corners against reliever Steve Cishek, who hadn't allowed a run in 13 appearances since being traded to the Rays. "Speedpass" kept that streak intact by retiring Wong on a groundout to end the inning.
"I got into a little bit of trouble with runners on first and third," Cishek said. "They put together a couple hits. With Kolten up and two out I knew I had to be careful with him. He's been swinging a hot bat, and knowing that I had room on the bases and the righty coming up, I just tried to stay away from him."
Footrace: The Cardinals' first chance to score off Archer came in the third, when Greg Garcia doubled and then advanced to third on a groundout by Lynn. With two outs, Carpenter skipped a sharp grounder that first baseman Morrison retrieved and flipped to Archer, who hustled to cover first. Archer beat "Carp" to the base by a step, ending the inning and preventing Garcia from scoring the game's first run.
"[My dad] was always the guy pushing me and driving me to be better. He even framed a poster of Cal Ripken that said perseverance under it. I mean, shoot, that pretty much sums up today, where my career has gone and where it is now. Just keep going. Keep persevering and keep going." -- Morrison, on pointing to the patch on his jersey that said "Father" after the late home run
"This is actually the fun part. I think everyone in this clubhouse enjoys these times. Every game means something, and we're excited for it." -- Cardinals third baseman Garcia on the team's outlook as it prepares for the season's final 32-game stretch
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The last time the Rays won a game in which they scored all of their runs on three solo homers was on Aug. 19, 2009, when Pat Burrell, Ben Zobrist and Melvin Upton Jr. went deep against the Orioles.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Lynn erased a leadoff single in the second inning after a 58-second review awarded him with a double play. The Cardinals challenged the on-field call that Adeiny Hechavarria was safe at first base, and replay confirmed that Wong's throw to first baseman Carpenter beat Hechavarria.
Rays: The Rays will continue their nine-game Midwest road trip on Monday against the Royals, who are also in the hunt for an AL Wild Card spot. Austin Pruitt (6-4, 5.76 ERA) will open up the three-game series at 8:15 p.m. ET. The right-hander has a 7.56 ERA in his past three starts (16 2/3 innings pitched), with the Rays losing his last four.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will kick off a 10-game road trip with a two-day stop in Milwaukee, where they'll open a series against the Brewers with a 6:40 p.m. CT game on Tuesday. Luke Weaver, who limited the Brewers to two runs over 6 1/3 innings in an Aug. 2 start at Miller Park, will start against Matt Garza.
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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis and covered the Rays on Sunday.