Rays overcome Ohtani slam, triple play in ninth to beat Angels in 10 (2024)

Published Aug. 19, 2023|Updated Aug. 19, 2023

ANAHEIM, Calif. — This has already been an eventful enough week for the Rays, what with the Wander Franco and Shane McClanahan news, injuries to Manuel Margot and Kevin Kelly, and dealing with rescheduling issues caused by the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years.

Friday’s game brought some significant challenges to overcome, most notably a Shohei Ohtani grand slam in the second inning and a triple play — just the fourth in franchise history — that Harold Ramirez grounded into in the ninth to snuff a prime scoring opportunity

And the Rays were up to the challenge, rallying to beat the Angels 9-6 in 10 innings.

“We don’t quit,” said Luke Raley, who drove in the first run of Tampa Bay’s three in the 10th. “That’s one thing that is really nice about this clubhouse is it’s a bunch of guys that want to win every day and guys that are going to go out there and do everything they can to win, regardless of the situation.’'

That they did, winning for the 12th time in their past 19 games, improving to 74-50 overall, positioning themselves — with one win in Saturday’s now-scheduled split doubleheader — to win the sixth of their past eight series. The Rays stayed two games behind the American League East-leading Orioles.

And they made some notable history in doing so, just the second team to allow a grand slam and hit into a triple play and still win the game, joining Cleveland in a Sept. 7, 1979, game vs. Toronto.

In a back-and-forth entertaining game, there were two key points Friday where the Rays showed that resolve.

After taking a 1-0 lead in the first, they found themselves down 5-1 in the second. Erasmo Ramirez, the first of seven Tampa Bay pitchers on a planned bullpen day, loaded the bases on two singles and a two-out walk, then allowed the blast to Ohtani, his 43rd homer of the season. It was the second slam of Ohtani’s career, the first also against the Rays last season.

“Probably you’re not supposed to win that game after we give up the home run to Ohtani,” manager Kevin Cash said.

But the Rays battled back. They got three in a two-out rally in the fourth, started by recent callups Curtis Mead, who was hit by a pitch, and Osleivis Basabe, who singled. Josh Lowe slashed a double that scored two, then Rene Pinto followed with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 5-4.

The Rays tied it in the fifth when Randy Arozarena drew a leadoff walk and raced home on a double by Harold Ramirez, who had three hits. They went ahead in the seventh when Ramirez came through again, singling in Yandy Diaz, who had singled and moved to second on a wild pitch.

“After the grand slam, we just tried to keep a positive mentality,’' said Diaz via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “We didn’t think the game was blown open that much. And as you guys saw, we were able to come back.”

Rays overcome Ohtani slam, triple play in ninth to beat Angels in 10 (1)

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Not much is coming easy these days, and the Rays let the Angels tie it. Nolan Schanuel, the Angels’ top pick in the June draft from Florida Atlantic, had a one-out single. After Jason Adam struck out Ohtani, Brandon Drury, hitless in his previous 20 at-bats, laced an RBI double.

The Rays were poised to take the lead in the ninth, with Diaz on third, Arozarena on first and no outs for Ramirez.

Ramirez grounded a ball to shortstop Luis Rengifo, who checked Diaz back to third, then threw to second. The Angels got one out there, then Drury threw to first for the second out. Diaz then broke for home, and Schanuel made an on-target throw home, where Logan O’Hoppe applied the tag.

“They made a great play,” Cash said. “It’s a really tough read for the guy at third base. Harold hit the ball too hard and right at the guy. That makes it not easy, but it makes it easier for the shortstop to handle and flip it over to second. (A) unique play, you don’t see that very often.’'

Or, as Diaz said: “Definitely a crazy play.”

Pete Fairbanks got the Rays through a messy bottom of the ninth, then they went ahead in the 10th.

Speedy Jose Siri, stepping in for Ramirez as the runner at second to start the inning, moved up on a wild pitch. After Isaac Paredes was hit by a pitch, Raley, who had the wild inside-the-park homer Wednesday at San Francisco, made up for his four-strikeout night by singling in the go-ahead run.

“It was tough day,” Raley said. “So that’s exactly what I was trying to do is just put the ball in play, honestly.”

With two outs, Lowe fouled off four pitches but on the ninth of the at-bat singled to make it 8-6.

“What an at-bat by him,” Cash said. “A bunch of foul balls and got the big add-on run. You don’t feel good with one run in those situations, certainly on the road.”

Pinto delivered another run-scoring single, making it 9-6.

Having already used six relievers, the Rays turned to veteran Andrew Kittredge, just activated off the injured list for his first appearance since Tommy John surgery in June 2022. He got the final three outs for the save.

“We just have to keep playing hard to keep battling every at-bat,” Harold Ramirez said, “and we’re going to do what we did Friday.”

• • •

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Rays overcome Ohtani slam, triple play in ninth to beat Angels in 10 (2024)
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