Rays morning alert: Some interesting notes from an interesting night
An hour after the game ended, and I'm still trying to sort through everything that happened, as the Rays scored a wild 8-7 win on a confusing final play, and the result not official until the umps huddled for a few moments afterward.
In short, they won when two runs scored as Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias stumbled crossing second to complete what should have been a game-ending double play.
Here are some notes and quotes about it:
* The Rays got their second walk off win of the season, the first an 11th-inning bases-loaded walk by Brad Miller on April 8 vs. Toronto.
* It was the ninth time in franchise history the Rays won on a walk-off error, last on Aug. 24, 2016, against Boston in 11 innings, on a mistake by Heath Hembree.
* The Rays have won five straight games at the Trop, their longest home winning streak since May 12-22, 2015.
* RHP Chris Archer lasted only five innings while throwing 104 pitches, his shortest start since Aug. 23, 2016, though he had a season-high nine strikeouts and 20 swing-and-misses (12 on sliders, eight on fastballs). Archer did have his fourth straight start without allowing a homer, matching the longest such streak of his career.
* 3B Evan Longoria, after shaving his beard, had his first multi-hit game since Opening Day, and his first three-hit game since Sep 16, 2016, and had a season-high matching three RBIs.
* RHP Austin Pruitt worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings for his first career win, having allowed runs in his first six appearances, most by a reliever to start their career with the Rays.
* Tigers centerfielder JaCoby Jones had more issues with tracking balls in the Trop outfield, including a play where he and 2B Ian Kinsler watched a ball drop between them. Manager Brad Ausmus said the issue came from a fan, who probably could be heard on the field as there were only 12,281 of them. "Unfortunately the source of confusion was coming from the stands as someone was yelling ‘I got it.' That's why Kinsler went out acting like he had it, but then he backed off when he heard someone say that they had it and priority goes to the outfield, but it wasn't the outfielders who called it,'' Ausmus said. "Same thing happened on any earlier ball in the 1st inning. It was coming from the stands so we had to change our signals. Then Rays fans didn't cause any more confusion."
* Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann also had issues with the Trop, noting how Kevin Kiermaier's bunt hugged the third-base line and stayed fair: "It's tough for anybody to come in here and play in this place. The white ceiling, a couple pop ups fall, a bunt that I thought was going to go foul hit the chalk - and there's enough chalk on the line that it came back, actually. The swing that Longoria had - the little chopper - the next thing you know, there's two runs on the board in the first.''
* Rays manager Kevin Cash had plenty of praise to go around: "Interesting ballgame to say the least. A lot of back-and-forth. I like the way Arch threw. Just unfortunate that the pitch count got really high. I think that had a lot to do with the strikeouts and the foul balls. He battled, but the pitch count just got too high too soon for him to continue going out. Offensively, we had some really good at-bats against Zimmermann. Ideally, 5-1 we are going to make that work. We didn't tonight and credit their offense. They have a very potent offense over there and just kept grinding away. Love the way the guys came back and found a way to win the game at the end. Cannot say enough about what Austin Pruitt did tonight."
* Cash was ejected for arguing the check-swing strike three call on OF Steven Souza Jr. in the ninth, his fifth ejection as a manager, though first in nearly a year.
* Souza eached base multiple times for the 11th time this season, tied with Royals OF Lorenzo Cain for most in the AL, and has his team-leading 12th RBI.