– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
ARLINGTON, Texas — When contending for a playoff spot during the final stretch of any baseball season, any win that is earned by a team cannot be considered an ugly victory. However, the way the Tampa Bay Rays scored their winning run on Tuesday night could not have come any uglier.
The hustle of Willy Adames and Kean Wong, along with two errors made by the Rangers on the same play, allowed the go-ahead run to score in the 11th inning as the Rays came from behind to defeat Texas 5-3 to hold onto their lead atop the American League Wild Card standings.
Tampa put itself in position to win in the 11th after Adames beat out an infield single by a half a step to keep the inning alive, moving Nate Lowe to second. The comedy of errors started with the next batter, as pitcher Emmanuel Clase bobbled a slow ground ball from the bat of Wong before throwing wide of first base for error No. 1.
After retrieving the ball, second baseman Rougned Odor’s throw to try to catch Adames after he made a wide turn around second base sailed high over the bag, allowing Lowe to score the go-ahead run.
“I guess they thought I was going to third,” Adames said about the game-winning sequence. “I [took a wide turn] because I thought [Lowe] was going to score. Then I took a big turn and was able to come back safe. They just rushed. I’m just happy they made a bad throw.”
Guillermo Heredia singled home Adames later in the inning to create the final margin of victory.
Tampa entered the eighth inning down 3-1, but tied the game after the first two batters came up to bat. Joey Wendle tripled off Rangers reliever Rafael Montero before Austin Meadows smacked his 29th home run over the centerfield wall to tie the score.
The Rangers were only able to come up with five hits all game and just three off Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough, who went seven innings and struck out seven. One of those hits was rookie Nate Solak’s third home run, a two-run shot that extended the Rangers’ lead to 3-0.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 16 pictures in total.