Rays use 8th inning rally to defeat White Sox
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and claimed a 5-4 victory over the White Sox on Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
That rally came after the White Sox scored two in the top of the frame to grab the advantage on Conor Gillaspie's pinch-hit, two-run homer off of reliever Brad Boxberger.
Tampa Bay tied the game off of Zach Putnam on a Steven Souza Jr., single, bringing home David DeJesus, who had singled and swiped second. The Rays grabbed the lead on Jake Elmore's infield single off of Jake Petricka, with runners on first and second and two outs, which shortstop Alexei Ramirez gloved in short left field.
"I thought DeJesus getting the bag there in the eighth inning might've been the play of the game," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "To put himself into scoring position for Souza, and then once Souza got on, the same thing for him, and then never breaking stride on the tough in-betweener play up the middle."
If Ramirez would have held the ball, the bases would have been loaded with two outs. Instead, his flip for the force to Gordon Beckham at second sailed past Beckham and allowed Souza Jr. to score all the way from second.
"Bottom line is we lost the game and wasted a pretty good outing by Shark [Jeff Samardzija]," White Sox bench coach Mark Parent said. "Pitched a whale of a game, the hitters coming back like that against a tough pitcher like Archer, granted most of the damage came off Boxberger. A lot of positives came out team-wise but smaller things that happen day after day."
Chris Archer and Samardzija both pitched well enough to win but finished with no-decisions. Archer left in the eighth after a leadoff walk to Adam Eaton ended his stretch of 107 straight batters without issuing a free pass. Archer fanned five and allowed three earned runs.
Samardzija worked seven before giving way to the bullpen, yielding three runs on six hits, while striking out seven and walking one.
"The ball was down. That was the biggest difference from the last time out to this time, especially later in the game," Samardzija said. "We were out over the plate and up, and I think we stayed down and off the plate today. I got some ground-ball outs, which is always key for me."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Big pitch in big situation: The Rays were threatening to take the lead in the fifth with runners on first and third, two outs and Longoria at the plate. But after falling behind, 3-1, Samardzija battled back to get Longoria looking on a 95 mph fastball pretty much down the middle of the plate.
Stealing a victory: The Rays used some aggressive baserunning to come away with a victory on Saturday. Trailing by one in the bottom of the eighth, DeJesus hit a two-out single and promptly stole second base, allowing Souza Jr. to drive him in with a single to left field on the ensuing at-bat. Two pitches later, Souza Jr. stole second -- after a crew-chief review overturned the original out call -- to put himself into scoring position. After Asdrubal Cabrera was intentionally walked, the right fielder came around to score the winning run on an error by Ramirez that was forced by an infield single by Elmore. More >
Walk this way: Eaton was not thrilled to be sitting against Archer, not after knocking out two hits and scoring two runs in Friday's loss. He made his displeasure known to bench coach Mark Parent during a closed door, pregame discussion. But Eaton made his presence felt by drawing that eight-pitch walk off of Archer as a pinch-hitter to lead off the eighth and scoring on Gillaspie's homer. To put the at-bat in perspective, Archer had three individual innings of eight total pitches or less. "It's satisfying any time you can contribute to the team," Eaton said. More >
Out of the Box: After watching Archer surrender a leadoff walk to Eaton, Rays manager Kevin Cash opted to turn to his bullpen and bring in Boxberger. The move didn't pan out, as Boxberger, who eventually ended up as the winning pitcher following the Rays rally in the eighth, served up a two-run home run to Gillaspie on an 0-2 fastball that put the White Sox up 4-3. The homer was the third Boxberger has allowed in his last seven appearances.
"Great to see Eaton battle off the bench, great to see Gillaspie hit a home run. He was my favorite player at the time." -- Parent, on the White Sox rally.
SAMARDZIJA'S FIRST INNING BLUES
The Rays scored one in the first Saturday on Longoria's single, contributing to Samardzija's well documented troubles during that frame in 2015. Samardzija has now yielded 16 earned runs on 27 hits over 13 first innings.
In the first inning, Evan Longoria shot a ball into center field and attempted to stretch a single into a double. Longoria beat the throw, but slid past the bag and was called out by second-base umpire C.B. Buckner. The Rays challenged the ruling, but the call was confirmed.
The Rays, however, were winners of the crew chief review that occurred in the bottom of the eighth after Souza Jr. was called out trying to steal second. The call on the field was overturned after a three-minute and 13-second delay.
White Sox: One excellent ace deserves another, so White Sox No. 1 Chris Sale (6-2, 3.04 ERA) follows the Rays' Archer to the mound for Sunday's series finale at 12:05 p.m. CT/1:05 p.m. ET. Sale's recent work has defied words, with the southpaw posting a 3-0 record, 0.40 ERA, 39 strikeouts and a .152 opponents' average against over his last three starts covering 22 2/3 innings.
Rays: Nate Karns (3-3, 3.86 ERA) gets the start for Tampa Bay and will try to rebound from a pair of rough outings -- both against the Angels -- in which he allowed a combined nine runs -- eight earned -- over 10 2/3 innings. In his only career start against the White Sox, he surrendered a career-high three home runs and six runs in five innings in a losing effort.
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