Rays beat Orioles 3-2 on game-ending passed ball
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays had never won a game that ended like this.
Yunel Escobar scored on Nick Hundley’s passed ball with two outs in ninth inning Saturday, giving the Rays a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
“However it falls at the end, we’ll take it in a good way,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Escobar reached first on a throwing error by shortstop Ryan Flaherty leading off the ninth, took second on Kevin Kiermaier’s sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on Curt Casali’s flyout.
After Ben Zobrist was intentionally walked by Brad Brach (5-1), Andrew Miller relieved and threw a ball to Ryan Hanigan as Zobrist moved up on defensive indifference. Miller then threw an outside pitch that glanced off Hundley’s glove and rolled to the backstop as Escobar sprinted home.
Playing its 2,733rd regular-season game, Tampa Bay won for the first time on a game-ending passed ball, according to STATS. Baltimore had not lost on a walkoff passed ball since at least 1974, STATS said.
“It’s tough to lose a game because I don’t catch the ball,” Hundley said. “I can’t remember the last time I just flat-out missed it.”
Brad Boxberger (5-1) struck out two during a perfect ninth to beat the Orioles for the second straight day. The AL East leaders were coming off a 9-2 homestand.
“I’m not going to dwell on that,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said of the ending. “They have pitched really well the last two games, and that’s been the difference.”
Baltimore had tied the score in the eighth when Rays closer Jake McGee walked Steve Pearce, pinch-runner Quintin Berry advanced when McGee made an errant pickoff attempt for an error and Nelson Cruz singled for his 94th RBIs. Delmon Young lined to third baseman Evan Longoria, who threw to second to double up pinch runner David Lough.
Rays starter Drew Smyly gave up one run and four hits over six innings, and Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings. Tampa Bay will decide in the next few days whether to end Smyly’s season after 153 innings.
“Whether it’s the last one or one more, who knows?” Smyly said. “Just keep trying to finish strong. You want to end on a good note.”
Smyly is 3-1 with an 1.70 ERA in seven starts since Tampa Bay acquired him Aug. 31 from Detroit for 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price.
Chris Davis’s 26th homer put the Orioles ahead in the second — he is 2 for 11 against Smyly with a pair of home runs.
Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead in the bottom half on Longoria’s sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Wil Myers that went off the glove of center fielder Adam Jones, who was trying to a catch at full extension. Longoria has 38 RBIs in 46 games since the All-Star break.
Orioles: Pearce (abdominal strain) returned to the starting lineup after being sidelined since Aug. 29. ... RHP Darren O’Day (hamstring) felt fine after a bullpen session. ... Showalter gave SS J.J. Hardy a day off the artificial turf. Hardy has had back issues this season.
Rays: CF Desmond Jennings (sore left knee) missed his ninth straight game.
It was 19 years ago Saturday that Baltimore great Cal Ripken Jr. played in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking the record set by Lou Gehrig.
Zobrist walked four times in five plate appearances as the leadoff hitter. He also lined out hard to short.
Orioles RHP Bud Norris (12-8) and Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-3) are Sunday’s scheduled starters.