Rays 3, Tigers 2(10)

Sean Rodriguez ran hard on a routine grounder and it resulted in

a Tampa Bay victory.

Elliot Johnson had a game-ending fielder’s choice in the 10th

inning and the Rays beat the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Wednesday

night.

Rodriguez beat a throw to second on Johnson’s bases-load

grounder that allowed Ben Zobrist to score the winning run.

”We win the game because a guy running at first, Sean, does the

right thing,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ”We win because

of him and his effort. Sean gets a great lead at first, a great

jump and makes the play. That doesn’t happen every night.”

Evan Longoria opened the 10th with an infield single off Duane

Below (0-2), but was forced out at second on Zobrist’s grounder.

After Matt Joyce struck out, Casey Kotchman was hit by a pitch and

pinch-hitter Rodriguez walked to load the bases.

Johnson then hit a grounder to third baseman Brandon Inge, who

threw to second, where second baseman Ramon Santiago was late

getting to the bag and Rodriguez slide in safely.

”It was fortunate … Inge got rid of it real good, but

Santiago didn’t get there, I guess, early enough,” Rodriguez said.

”The ball beat me there, but he didn’t.”

Inge, a defensive replacement in the 10th, also briefly bobbled

Zobrist’s grounder, which might have cost the Tigers a double

play.

”It’s not obvious I could have gotten him at third,” Inge

said. ”I was playing way back to give myself a better angle. He

hit the ball to my left, so it’s very cut and dried … On a ball

hit to your left, you go to second base all the time. That’s the

right move. That’s the only play you have.”

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said the final play is just part of

the game.

”I thought there was an out at first or probably at third,”

Leyland said. ”We didn’t execute a couple of chances and it cost

us. We couldn’t come up with the big hit. We didn’t do much

offensively.”

Joel Peralta (3-4) pitched a perfect 10th.

Longoria hit a solo homer for the Rays, who entered 0-5 against

Detroit this season. Wade Davis allowed two runs and four hits in

nine innings.

Detroit got a solo shot from Alex Avila, who has six homers and

16 RBIs in 20 games this month. The Tigers had a five-game winning

streak end.

The Rays had two on and one out in the ninth, but Below got

Johnny Damon to ground into a double play. Damon has hit into just

three double plays in 479 at-bats this season.

Damon gave the Rays a 2-1 lead on his 2,700th career hit, an RBI

double off Max Scherzer in the fifth. The Tampa Bay designated

hitter also doubled in the first and moved past Mark Grace (511)

into 45th place all-time with 513 doubles.

Avila pulled the Tigers even at 2 on his 16th homer this year

during the seventh. He is 8 for 21, including four home runs,

against Tampa Bay this season.

Scherzer gave up two runs and four hits in five innings. The

right-hander was pulled after throwing 97 pitches.

Longoria tied it at 1 with his 22nd homer of the season in the

fourth. It was his 104th career homer, tying him for third place on

Tampa Bay’s career list with Carl Crawford. Longoria has 61 RBIs

over his last 64 games.

Austin Jackson put the Tigers up 1-0 on a third-inning sacrifice

fly.

Davis struck out Miguel Cabrera with two runners on to the end

the sixth. Cabrera flew out to deep center leading off the

ninth.

Notes: Damon is the 64th player to reach 2,700 hits. … Leyland

said Tampa Bay’s rotation is the best in the AL. ”I really believe

that,” Leyland said. ”Pretty impressive.” … Cabrera will go on

the paternity leave list and miss Thursday’s game, but is expected

to rejoin the team Friday. … C Omir Santos will be called up from

Triple-A Toledo to replace Cabrera and likely will give Avila, who

has started 18 straight games at catcher, a break. … Tampa Bay CF

B.J Upton (strained right shoulder) struck out as a pinch hitter

for the second straight game. … Rays bullpen coach Bobby Ramos

(throat infection) is not with the team. … Tigers RHP Doug Fister

(5-3) will pitch against Tampa Bay RHP Jeremy Hellickson (11-8) in

Thursday’s series finale.