Rays rise to challenge with 8th-inning rally
ST. PETERSBURG -- Brad Boxberger had just surrendered a go-ahead two-run home run to White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie, but the Rays belief never wavered.
Instead, the Rays countered with a two-out, two-run rally in the bottom of the eighth inning to turn a one-run deficit into a 5-4 victory over the White Sox on Saturday at Tropicana Field.
"We just never say die," Rays outfielder David DeJesus said. "We felt that when they took the lead, we still had a chance and just great at-bats throughout that inning, especially with two outs there. It was a huge win for us."
The come-from-behind victory -- the 13th for the Rays this season -- was kicked off by DeJesus, who delivered a single up the middle off White Sox reliever Zach Putnam, and then proceeded to swipe second base for his second steal of the season.
"It was one of those things that [first-base coach] Rocco [Baldelli] was like, 'He's a 1.6 right now, and if you feel like you can get it, go ahead,'" DeJesus said. "He was pretty slow with bringing his leg up, so I took a chance on it and he threw a splitter on that one and I was able to get the bag."
But while DeJesus was making moves on the basepaths, Steven Souza Jr. was in the midst of a battle at the plate. After working a 2-2 count, the Rays' right fielder fouled of four splitters in a row before sending the ninth pitch of the at-bat through the hole on the left side of the infield to score DeJesus and tie the game at four.
"I think [my at-bat] was set up by DeJesus' at-bat," Souza said. "He fouled off some tough pitches and he took some tough pitches and then to come through with a single in the middle there, that kind of gets to a pitcher. He made some really good pitches and David kind of spoiled them, so going into my at-bat I was just trying to do the same thing and set it up well."
Two pitches later, Souza also followed DeJesus' lead on the basepaths as he made a beeline for second base, but was called out by second-base umpire CB. Buckner, forcing a confident Souza to pop up and start pointing at the bag to get his manager Kevin Cash to have the crew chief look at the play.
"It was a close play," Souza said. "[The ump] had a tough angle on it, I made a weird slide, but it felt like got my foot in before he got the tag."
After a three-minute and 13-second review, Souza's gut feeling proved true and he was awarded his eighth stolen base of the season, and following an Asdrubal Cabrera intentional walk, he was brought home by a Jake Elmore infield single to White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who made a sliding stop, but sent an errand throw toward second to allow the winning run to cross home.
"In my mind, I'm going until [third-base coach] Charlie [Montoyo] stops me. Charlie has done a really good job this year at reading the play and not stopping me and sending me right there."