The Tampa Bay Rays bullpen squandered a 3-0 sixth-inning lead, as John Jay's three-run homer off Erasmo Ramirez tied the game, and Ian Happ's two-run single in the seventh off Adam Kolarek broke the tie as the Chicago Cubs salvaged a split with a 7-3 decision Wednesday at Wrigley Field.
Rays starter Blake Snell worked the first five innings, not allowing a run, but allowing four hits and walking four. Chicago would have either the leadoff or second batter of every inning on base while Snell was on the mound.
Tampa Bay got on the board in the first, as Mallex Smith singled off Cubs starter John Lackey, his first of a career-best four hits in the game. He then stole second base and scored on a base hit from Evan Longoria.
Smith and Corey Dickerson collaborated in the third to make it 2-0, with Smith reaching on a base hit and coming around from first on an RBI double from the Rays All-Star.
In the sixth, it would be the top of the order again, with Smith doubling, moving to third on a groundout by Dickerson and scoring on a sacrifice fly by Longoria.
With Snell at 97 pitches after five frames, manager Kevin Cash decided to go to Ramirez, who gave up an infield single to Ian Happ and a one-out single by Javier Baez. After Addison Russell lined out to Longoria, Jon Jay, pinch-hitting for Lackey, lifted a pitch into the seats in left to tie the game.
Chicago broke the tie an inning later, as Kris Bryant worked a four-pitch walk off Ramirez, and Adam Kolarek gave up a base hit to Anthony Rizzo, and after a Zobrist sacrifice bunt, Happ brought in both runners with a base hit for a 5-3 advantage.
The Cubs added two more runs in the eighth off Chase Whitley thanks to a double by Rizzo, and Wade Davis finished off the game to salvage the split.
Tampa Bay will head home to finish out the first half of the schedule with a four-game series against the division-leading Red Sox. Thursday's opener will feature Jake Faria (3-0, 2.23 ERA) taking on Chris Sale (11-3, 2.61 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10, with coverage on WDAE starting at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Sykes Lakeland.