CLEVELAND (AP) — Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon had a feeling the Rays would bounce back Sunday.
Following Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Cleveland — a game that began 10 hours following Friday night’s game that ended at 2:53 a.m. because of three rain delays — a strong team performance proved Maddon right in an 11-3 win.
Evan Longoria and Yunel Escobar hit two-run homers, James Loney added a two-run double and Jeremy Hellickson picked up the victory as Tampa Bay rebounded a day after its six-game winning streak ended.
Everything went the Rays’ way Sunday. Sam Fuld wound up with a triple in the fourth when his drive down the right field line bounced off a ball boy.
Friday’s game, scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m., was delayed a total of 4 hours and 49 minutes. That left a short turnaround time for Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game in which the Rays managed four hits.
Maddon wasn’t surprised about how his team responded in Sunday’s win.
“It’s a great group of guys,” he said. “I can read them pretty well when they walk in the door or in the dugout during the game. (Saturday) was difficult. It just was. There’s no way getting around it. It’s not an excuse. We’re not making excuses. I felt we were a little fatigued. They came back and did a great job. I trust them. They’re professional.”
Indians manager Terry Francona was ejected in the fifth inning by plate umpire Bill Welke for arguing a strike call with Nick Swisher batting. It was his first ejection as Cleveland’s manager.
“I thought his strike zone was inconsistent all day, not just on that one pitch,” Francona said. “After the game, I told Bill, `In fairness to you, I went back and looked at all the pitches, and I feel stronger now than I did when I was yelling at you from the dugout.’ “
Francona then broke into a small smile and added of the postgame conversation, “I may have cursed.”
Francona was tossed with the Indians trailing 5-3 after Welke called a strike to Swisher on a 1-0 pitch. Francona, thinking the pitch was low and outside, yelled from the dugout and was quickly ejected. He came on the field and argued with Welke, holding his hands a couple of feet apart, apparently to show how far he thought the pitch was out of the strike zone.
Francona fired his gum to the ground before leaving the field and yelled again at Welke when he returned to the dugout. Francona also argued with Welke about a call on the bases in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Fuld led off the Rays’ fourth with a hit down the line in right field. The ball bounced off a ball boy, who attempted to get out of the way as Fuld raced around the bases before finally stopping at third. Francona talked it over with first base umpire Adrian Johnson and second base umpire Fieldin Culbreth, saying Fuld should have been sent back to second. The ruling, however was that the ball boy was in play and didn’t intentionally interfere with the ball, and the triple stood.
The play brought a chuckle from Maddon.
“The ball could have gone farther down,” he said. “It could have been a triple either way. Fortunately, Sammy was heads-up enough to keep going.”
Francona failed to see the humor in the play.
“I was agitated because it was explained to me two different ways,” he said. “The first time was completely screwed up, which is why I was so worked up. Cubby (Culbreth) let me vent a little bit after that, which I appreciated.”
Hellickson (3-2) allowed three runs in five innings.
“I made a lot of good pitches,” he said. “I was right where I wanted to be. They’re a good hitting team.”
Zach McAllister (4-5) lasted only 4 1-3 innings — his shortest start of the season — and gave up five runs.
Escobar’s homer in the sixth pushed the Rays’ lead to 7-3.
Longoria drove in three runs. He homered to cap a four-run eighth and connected off Matt Langwell, who was facing his first hitter in his major league debut.
Loney’s double in the first put Tampa Bay ahead. Longoria added an RBI single in the third and Jose Lobaton’s infield hit made it 4-0 in the fourth.
The Indians scored three times with two outs in the fourth. Yan Gomes’ RBI double and Mike Aviles’ two-run single cut the lead to 4-3.
NOTES: LHP Matt Moore, tied for the AL lead with eight wins, will start Tuesday when the Rays open a three-game series in Detroit. …. RHP Alex Cobb, who missed his last start because of a cut finger, will start Wednesday for the Rays. … Indians RHP Chris Perez (sore shoulder) has been cleared to resume throwing on Wednesday. He’s been on the 15-day disabled list since May 27. … The Indians begin a nine-game road trip Monday against the Yankees. Cleveland RHP Justin Masterson (8-3) faces New York LHP Andy Pettitte (4-3) in the opener of the three-game series. … Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera got the day off. … Cleveland OF Drew Stubbs is in a 0-for-16 slump. … Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry threw out the ceremonial first pitch, then autographed the ball for Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., who served as his catcher. Perry pitched for the Indians from 1972-75.