MIAMI -- Plenty of warts covered Tampa Bay's 9-6 win over Miami in 16 innings Tuesday night. Then again, an ugly win is still a win.
"We got off to an early start, then we really didn't play maybe our best, but they found a way and the guys kept grinding through," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Both teams kept grinding a long time. Some odd matchups. Some unique situations presented themselves, but ultimately [we found] a way to win at the end."
The Rays (43-42) have a chance to claim their fourth consecutive series after winning the longest road game in franchise history, which lasted 5 hours and 31 minutes.
Tampa Bay's winning rally almost went up in smoke before coming to fruition.
With the score tied at 4, which it had been since the fifth inning, Johnny Field singled off Brett Graves to open the 16th. Graves hit the next batter, Carlos Gomez, before Kevin Kiermaier grounded to shortstop JT Riddle. Riddle tossed to Starlin Castro for the force at second, and the Marlins second baseman then threw to third baseman Miguel Rojas, who tagged out Field to complete the double play.
Kiermaier stole second, and Matt Duffy walked, bringing Jake Bauers to the plate. The rookie first baseman laced a two-run double to right to break the stalemate.
"I was lucky to swing. I mean my last two at-bats, I was mentally exhausted," said Bauers, who noted that he had to thank pitcher Vidal Nuno giving his all after hitting a single in the top of the 15th and getting thrown out sliding head-first into second while trying to stretch the hit into a double. "Watching him give it everything, he had kind of kicked me in the [behind] a little bit. You know, kind of made me say, 'This guy's out there selling out. Let's end this game for him.' That was an incredible effort by him. In all seriousness. Especially on that dive into second base. That was crazy."
Nuno followed Bauers and singled to left to drive home another run, injuring himself on the play, and Monday's starter Nathan Eovaldi pinch-ran. Daniel Robertson followed with a two-run double to make it 9-4.
Cash inserted backup catcher Jesus Sucre in the bottom of the 16th to try to nail down the win. He did so hoping to save Matt Andriese, Diego Castillo and Jose Alvarado for Wednesday's game. The Marlins had other ideas.
Lewis Brinson, Derek Dietrich and Castro greeted him with consecutive singles to start the inning and load the bases. After John Holaday hit a sacrifice fly to center for the first out of the inning, Cash relented and brought in Alvarado to get the final two outs.
J.T. Realmuto hit into a run-scoring fielder's choice, and pinch-hitting pitcher Dan Straily walked, bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Cameron Maybin, who grounded out to second for the final out.
"Definitely not how you draw it up in a lot of different ways," Duffy said. "Typically in a 16-inning game, there's going to be some ugly things, and there was today.
"Then we had Sucre start the 16th," Duffy giggled. "And they had Straily pinch hit. So, obviously, not an ideal day, but happy to come out with the win."
The Rays used 22 players, which included everyone on the 25-man roster other than Castillo, Andriese and Blake Snell.
Wilson Ramos' two-run homer off Trevor Richards in the first gave the Rays the lead. Adeiny Hechavarria's RBI double and Mallex Smith's RBI single in the second pushed the lead to 4-0.
Richards helped his own cause with a two-run single off Ryan Yarbrough in the second to cut the Rays' lead to 4-2. Austin Pruitt surrendered an RBI single to Brian Anderson and a sacrifice fly to Realmuto in the fifth to tie the score at 4, and that's where the score remained until after midnight.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Marlins had the chance to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Rojas flied out to center field with one out. Kiermaier called off right fielder Field to make the catch then threw a strike to catcher Ramos to nail Anderson at the plate to keep the score tied at 4.
The Rays recalled Hunter Wood from Triple-A Durham on Saturday. He had not pitched since Wednesday in Durham, but the right-hander showed no rust Tuesday night. Entering the game in the sixth, he pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only a walk.
"He was a real bright spot," Cash said.
HE SAID IT
"It's a win. It's a win. Let's come back in 12 hours, whatever it is, and hopefully try and win a game a little quicker." -- Cash, on Tuesday night's game
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
When Bauers was called safe on an infield single to lead off the third, the Marlins challenged. After a 27-second review, the call on the field was overturned. In the fourth, Riddle was called safe on a steal of second, prompting the Rays to challenge the call. After a review of one minute, 26 seconds, the call on the field was overturned.