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Rays tangled up by Tigers' walk-off squeeze

Special to MLB.com

DETROIT -- With the Rays' infield shifted to the left side of the diamond, John Hicks dropped a squeeze bunt down the first-base line to push JaCoby Jones across home plate and give the Tigers a 3-2 walk-off win over the Rays in the 12th inning Wednesday at Comerica Park. Pitcher Matt Andriese and first baseman Brad Miller collided as they tried to field the ball, and Jones -- who jump-started the inning with a leadoff triple -- was able to score standing up.

While Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash felt Hicks laid down the bunt because he saw an opportunity to win the game, Miller said he was ready for it and thought he was going to make the play all the way up until he collided with Andriese.

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DETROIT -- With the Rays' infield shifted to the left side of the diamond, John Hicks dropped a squeeze bunt down the first-base line to push JaCoby Jones across home plate and give the Tigers a 3-2 walk-off win over the Rays in the 12th inning Wednesday at Comerica Park. Pitcher Matt Andriese and first baseman Brad Miller collided as they tried to field the ball, and Jones -- who jump-started the inning with a leadoff triple -- was able to score standing up.

While Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash felt Hicks laid down the bunt because he saw an opportunity to win the game, Miller said he was ready for it and thought he was going to make the play all the way up until he collided with Andriese.

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"Obviously, if we don't collide, I think I would've had a shot," Miller said. "We were just both going to make a play and got tangled up there, and they forced us to try and make a play and we didn't."

Warwick Saupold got the win for the Tigers out of the bullpen. Tigers relievers held the Rays hitless through all three extra innings, while facing the minimum over the final 15 batters.

Blake Snell (4-1) turned in a fifth consecutive quality start but fell short of picking up a fifth straight win. Snell allowed two earned runs on five hits across 6 2/3 innings, while striking out four.

Snell was touched for a two-out solo home run to James McCann in the seventh inning, following a double play in which center fielder Mallex Smith caught Jones at second base trying to tag up on a Hicks flyout.

Video: TB@DET: Smith turns double play with superb throw

Despite pitching past the sixth inning for a fourth consecutive outing, Snell wasn't particularly impressed with his stuff on Wednesday.

"I guess I could say I'm happy that I went 6 2/3 with stuff that wasn't my normal stuff," Snell said. "I was frustrated."

In hindsight, Cash thinks he may have made a mistake by pulling Snell when he did, after having thrown only 86 pitches. "I got irritated at myself for some bad decisions, and I decided to pull him," he said. "He pitched an outstanding game without his best stuff and gave us a chance to win. None of this is on him."

Video: TB@DET: Snell strikes out Martin swinging

The Rays struck early, thanks to a first-inning RBI single from Wilson Ramos, who finished the game 3-for-5. They tacked on a run in the second inning, courtesy of small ball, when Denard Span's groundout to second brought in Carlos Gomez, who reached on a bunt single and was pushed to third base by an Adeiny Hechavarria sacrifice bunt.

Video: TB@DET: Ramos lines an RBI single, extends hit streak

Gomez's bunt single was one of three on the day for the Rays, which Cash said all came at the discretion of his players, not his orders.

"I'm impressed that they're trying to get the inning going," Cash said. "I think they recognize that base runners were kind of at a premium, we weren't getting them on base, and that was a way for us to do it."

Tigers ace Michael Fulmer settled in after the second inning to hold the Rays at bay over the rest of his outing, which lasted six innings. In addition to the two runs, he allowed six hits and walked two, striking out five.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
With two outs in the eighth, the score tied at 2 and Miller standing on second base, Gomez hit a liner toward right-center field, and second baseman Dixon Machado elevated to snatch it out of the air and prevent the potential go-ahead run from scoring.

Video: TB@DET: Machado makes a leaping grab to end the 8th

Eovaldi penciled in for end-of-month return

SOUND SMART
Despite taking a no-decision on Wednesday, Snell is 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA and 38 strikeouts in his last five starts.

HE SAID IT
"I've faced [Snell] before. He's got good stuff, man, and he keeps getting better. He's so young. Remember when the game, if you were a lefty, you were supposed to throw like 88, right? Now this guy's throwing 97, big, tall lefty with a hammer curveball and a good changeup, too. He's got really good stuff."
-- Hicks

UP NEXT
The Rays return home from a 5-3 road trip for a five-game homestand against the Blue Jays and Braves. Rookie Ryan Yarbrough is expected to make the start in Friday's series opener against Toronto. Yarbrough picked up his first Major League win against the Red Sox on Saturday before he was sent to Triple-A Durham. The left-hander was then recalled Tuesday when prospect Yonny Chirinos went on the disabled list. Toronto will counter with J.A. Happ (4-1, 3.50). First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Kyle Beery is a contributor to MLB.com based in Detroit.

Tampa Bay Rays