ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- Tommy Pham's tenth home run of the year broke a 3-3 tie, as te Tampa Bay Rays were able to hold on for a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels, splitting their four-game weekend series.
Opener Ryne Stanek struggled to begin the contest, as Tommy La Stella reached on an error to begin the game. Mike Trout singled him up a base, and Shohei Ohtani walked to load the bases with nobody out for Albert Pujols, whose fly ball brought home La Stella for a 1-0 lead.
That lead would be short lived, as Brandon Lowe homered off Angels starter Griffin Canning, his team-leading 15th of the year, to tie the game at one apiece.
Tampa Bay added two more runs in the second, with Yandy Diaz starting off the inning with a base hit off Canning, and scoring on a triple by Kevin Kiermaier to break the tie. Kiermaier then raced home on a sacrifice fly to shallow right field caught by Pujols in foul territory for a 3-1 lead.
The Angels got a run back in the top of the third against Jalen Beeks, as David Fletcher's sacrifice fly scored Trout, and in the fifth, the Los Angeles third baseman singled in Ohtani to tie the game against Emilio Pagan.
But Tampa Bay took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth, as Pham's solo homer with two out in the inning made it a 4-3 game.
Tampa Bay added two more important runs in the bottom of the eighth, as Diaz singled in Pham to make it 5-3, and Lowe scored on a wild pitch to give the Rays a three-run lead.
Those runs would be important, as Diego Castillo allowed a two-run homer to Mike Trout in the top of the ninth to cut the game back to a single run at 6-5, and Shohei Ohtani reached on a line drive deflected by the Rays closer. But Castillo got Pujols to ground out and struck out Kole Calhoun looking to end the game and earn his seventh save of the year.
Colin Poche, who worked a perfect sixth and seventh inning on just 15 pitches, was awarded the win by the official scorer despite not being the pitcher in the game when the tie was broken in an unusual but not unprecedented decision.
The Rays remain one half-game behind the Yankees for the lead in the American League East, with a pivotal three-game series between the two clubs beginning Monday in the Bronx.
Tampa Bay Rays (43-28) at New York Yankees (43-27), 7:05 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: RHP Yonny Chirinos (7-2, 2.88 ERA)
Yankees starter: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (4-5, 3.58 ERA)