ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay is 5-13 on the season, yet the Rays' effort has not waned.
Never was that effort -- from young and old -- more prevalent than in the sixth inning of their 4-2 win over the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon at Tropicana Field. In victory, the Rays claimed a much-needed series win, and they showed what type of team they need to be to continue to win.
Trailing 1-0 in the sixth, Johnny Field nudged a single through the right side against Cole Hamels. One out later, Daniel Robertson doubled to left and Field scored from first.
"Honestly, I was just thinking first to third and that [Rangers left fielder Nomar Mazara] would cut it off and there would be a play at third, so I was booking it trying to go first to third," Field said. "As I was going to third base, I see Q [third-base coach Matt Quatraro] waving me home, so I tried to turn it on from there."
Robertson noted that's how Field plays the game.
"I've played with him a couple of years and he plays all out," Robertson said. "He's obviously a good baserunner. A quick guy. That time of the game, that was huge for us for him to score from first on that."
Field represented the young in the sixth inning. Carlos Gomez represented the more seasoned.
Gomez got hit by a pitch on the right hand to put runners at the corners for C.J. Cron, who blooped a single into center to score Robertson. Gomez wasn't content to stop at second on the play, and managed to hustle into third.
"First of all, you need to see when you're on base where they play," Gomez said. "In that situation, [the outfielders] were not playing in. It was a big guy [in Cron], and they didn't want to give up a double. I was looking at the outfield and said, 'Base hit, and I'm going to third.' But it's a looper, so I shuffle, shuffle, and when I see he's not going to get it, I put my head down and go all the way to third."
Gomez's effort represented a big play because reaching third allowed him to score on Adeiny Hechavarria's sacrifice fly to put the Rays up 3-1.
Denard Span doubled home Joey Wendle in the seventh to push the lead to 4-1.
"Things aren't going like we want to right now," Gomez said. "It's not only me, this is the game we're going to play. But the last 2 1/2 weeks, we're not performing like we want to, but it's a game that everybody is going to see us going from first to third on every base hit."
Jake Faria gave the Rays a quality start, allowing one run on five hits with an intentional walk and six strikeouts in six innings to claim his first win of the season, and his first win since July 25, 2017.
Faria's effort bridged the gap to Chaz Roe and Jose Alvarado, who notched scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth innings, before Alex Colome pitched the ninth and had to navigate some problems -- facing the potential tying run before getting a game-ending double play.
"Yeah, it's been a rough stretch," Robertson said. "But we show up to the field every day enthused and ready to play, and ready to compete. If it doesn't go our way, we can't knock our effort or our energy. It's baseball. Teams go through stretches. It happened to us early. But last couple of games, last couple of days, we've been able to pull out some wins."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The Rangers almost rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the ninth against Colome, who put himself in trouble by walking Adrian Beltre and Joey Gallo to lead off the inning. Colome struck out Robinson Chirinos, but Drew Robinson lined a single to left to bring home Beltre. Texas then had Ronald Guzman pinch-hit for Renato Nunez, and he hit a grounder to the second baseman Wendle for a game-ending double play.
"I'm really glad [Colome] got through that and we didn't have to make a decision there at the end," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "But give him credit, I think he'd be the first to admit that he's not totally locked in. But he's going to continue to try and find it. And when he does, he'll get on a good run."
Cron was credited with his first game-winning RBI since hitting a go-ahead pinch-hit homer off Adam Kolarek on July 16, 2017, against the Rays.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Mazara led off the Rangers' sixth and popped into foul territory. Brandon Snyder gave chase. Approaching Texas' bullpen, Tampa Bay's third baseman made a backhanded grab just before reaching the stands.
HE SAID IT
"I thought it was a great play." -- Cash, on the fan interference call that turned Renato's home run into a double
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Nunez may have had a home run taken away from him by a fan in the fifth. The third baseman drove one over the padded part of the right-field wall, but there was some doubt whether it would have cleared the yellow line. That's because a fan reached out and caught the ball. Nunez was held to a double. The Rangers received a crew chief review, and the call stood upon review.
The Rays will welcome the Twins to Tropicana Field on Friday to open a three-game series beginning with a 7:10 p.m. ET contest. Chris Archer will make his fifth start of the season. He has allowed homers in all four starts. Lance Lynn will start for Minnesota.