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Wendle's Big Eighth Inning Keys Comeback Win For Rays

Joey Wendle had an eighth inning Friday night that can define a championship-caliber team's season.

The Rays second baseman made a sprinting catch that kept the game tied in the top of the frame, then had a two-run single in the bottom of the inning that broke the 4-4 tie and gave the Tampa Bay a 6-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Nick Anderson started the inning by getting Bryce Harper to ground out and J.T. Realmuto to fly to center field, but walked Didi Gregorius to allow Jean Segura to hit. The Philadelphia second baseman lifted a flare down the right field line that looked like it was going to land in no-man's land and perhaps score a run, but Wendle on a full sprint ran down the baseball to end the inning and keep the game tied.

In the bottom of the inning, Tampa Bay would load the bases off reliever Adam Morgan on a base hit to Yoshi Tsutsugo and walks to Hunter Renfroe and Brett Phillips. Phillies manager Joe Girardi brought in Hector Neris, with Kevin Cash responding by pinch-hitting Brandon Lowe for Mike Zunino. Lowe popped out for the second out of the inning, but Wendle followed with a base hit to right that scored Tsutsugo and Renfroe to break the tie.

Tampa Bay started the scoring in the second, as Kevin Kiermaier singled with one out against Vince Velasquez, who then walked Mike Brosseau, and after Renfroe struck out, Phillips singled in Kiermaier to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.

Philadelphia took a 3-1 lead in the third, as Alec Bohm singled in Scott Kingery to tie the game. Bryce Harper then triple in Bohm and when Willy Adames' throw to third went into the visiting dugout, Harper was awarded the plate.

Harper drove in another run against Morton in the fifth with an RBI single to stretch the Phillies lead to 4-1.

The Rays cut the deficit back to 4-3 in the bottom of the inning, with Willy Adames driving in Wendle with a base hit, and Kevin Kiermaier's fielder's choice plating Randy Arozarena.

Phillips tied the game in the sixth with his first home run as a member of the Rays and second of the year overall, coming off former Tampa Bay reliever Tommy Hunter.

Jon Curtiss struck out the side in the ninth for his second save.

The win reduces the magic number for Tampa Bay to clinch to the top seed in the American League to 1.

Tampa Bay will look to secure a series win with a victory Saturday. After closing out Friday night's game, Curtiss will open Saturday's contest, taking on Zack Wheeler. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 5:00 with The Inside Pitch.

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