The confines of dome were very comfortable for the Tampa Bay Rays over the past two weeks, having gone 9-1 on their recent homestand. And they continued their winning trend on the road, as they started an eight-game road trip at the Ballpark in Arlington Tuesday night with a 5-3 11-inning win over the Texas Rangers.
The Rays took their first lead of the game in the 11th, when the Rangers badly misplayed a grounder down the first base line by Kean Wong. Rangers pitcher Emmanuel Clase picked up the ball and threw wildly on the infield side of first. Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor fielded the throw, and then threw wildly into left field to try and nab Willy Adames, who strayed a little too far off second base. Nate Lowe, who had reached on a fielder's choice, raced around to score the lead run. Guillermo Heredia then added an insurance run, driving in Adames with an RBI single.
Adames made perhaps the play of the game, as he beat out an infield hit with two outs to extend the inning for Wong's at-bat.
The Rays, behind 3-1 in the eighth because of stellar pitching by Rangers' starter Lance Lynn, tied the game as Austin Meadows drilled a two-run homer to center off Rafael Montero, who replaced Lynn to start the inning. Joey Wendle was on third for Meadows' homer, as he led off the inning with a triple to the right-field corner.
But while the Rays' offense picked up late in the game, their bats were quieted the first seven innings by Lynn, who had shut out the Rays earlier this year.
The Rays' starter, Ryan Yarbrough, was almost as effective as Lynn, save for one inning where the Rangers scored all their runs. Yarbrough was perfect through three innings, but struggled in the fourth. It all started after Yarbrough hit leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo with a pitch.
The Rangers then picked up their first hit, and run, on a double by Willie Calhoun to the left-field corner with one out, scoring Choo from first.
The former Rays prospect Nick Solak followed with a two-run homer off Yarbrough deep into the left field seats. Solak was traded in a mid-season deal in which the Rays acquired pitching prospect Peter Fairbanks.
Lynn gave up his lone run as the Rays answered right back in the fifth as Joey Wendle singled home Guillermo Heredia, who had doubled with one out.
Both starters stayed through the 7th inning. Yarbrough allowing only three runs on three hits; Lynn allowed a run on four hits.
*The Rays maintained their lead in the AL wild card race by a game and a half over Oakland and two games over Cleveland. Both teams won their games Tuesday.
*The Rays also kept the New York Yankees' magic number at nine, as the Yankees lost to the Tigers in Detroit. Tampa Bay now trails the Yankees by eight games with 16 games to play.
*Nick Anderson continued his stellar relief pitching by striking out the side in the eighth inning. He now has 30 strikeouts and allowed only one run in the 15 innings he has pitched for the Rays.
*Emilio Pagan picked up his fourth win, and Fairbanks picked up his first major-league save.
*Avisail Garcia left the game in the eighth inning with hip tightness. His status is uncertain.
*Andrew Kittredge (1-0 4.17 ERA) will open for the Rays Wednesday, with Austin Pruitt working the bulk innings. Ariel Jurado (7-10, 5.40 ERA) will start for the Rangers. Game time is 8:05 p.m.