OAKLAND — Down to their final out, the Rays scored twice off A’s closer Santiago Casilla to take a 4-3 win Tuesday night at the Coliseum.
“I think this team has spoke loud and clear about how they feel about one another and how capable we are of winning games,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “To do it in that situation, it’s a pretty special win.”
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Casilla got two quick outs, but Wilson Ramos singled and pinch-runner Mallex Smith took second on a wild pitch and stole third. After Brad Miller walked, Adeiny Hechavarria singled through the hole in right to tie the game and advance Miller to third.
Then, with a full count, Shane Peterson drilled a single to right to score Miller and give the Rays the lead. Closer Alex Colome sealed the win to put the Rays seven games over .500 for the first time since June 2015.
“Any time you get a win, it’s huge. But when you’re down by one in the ninth and down to our last out, coming through and getting a win makes it a little bit better,” Peterson said.
“He looked like he had good stuff,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Casilla. “The first two guys out are their two best hitters. Now you’ve got baserunners on, including Smith, who’s their best baserunner, so you gotta be a little bit quicker, and then a walk and a couple of hits. Just the way it worked out.”
Khris Davis provided all of the offense for the A’s, starting with a two-run homer in the first. He ripped a first-pitch changeup from Rays starter Blake Snell to center field, sending his 26th of the year a projected 436 feet, per Statcast™. Then, with the game tied at two in the fourth, Davis raced home on a Snell wild pitch and put the A’s up 3-2.
In just his second career start, A’s right-hander Chris Smith went seven innings and allowed just two runs, a Miller sacrifice fly in the second and a Steven Souza Jr. solo homer in the third. The 36-year-old journeryman walked two and gave up three hits but struck out four on 89 pitches.
“You gear up for six, and then you go out there for the seventh and you complete the seventh, just an awesome feeling,” said Smith, who was pitching in front of 20-plus family members. “Especially because I know I’m not supposed to be here doing this. Like, what’s going on here? This whole thing is just an unbelievable ride and I just don’t want it to end. I just want to keep on doing what they ask me to do.”
For the Rays, Snell remained winless with a no-decision, going four innings and allowing three runs on three hits and three walks. He struck out six.
“I thought Blake struggled, obviously, with his command. I thought he struggled with his pitch distribution and his decision-making,” Cash said. “I had a good talk with Blake while I was sitting here watching the game with him. I’m confident that Blake is going to get things going in the right direction.”
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Ramirez’s perfect relief: The Rays pulled Snell after four innings and called on right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who answered the call perfectly. In three innings, Ramirez retired all nine batters he faced and struck out two, keeping the Rays within a run.
“Erasmo Ramirez was as big a part as any as to why we won the game. He came in and was efficient, he threw strikes,” Cash said. “I think that’s the first time he’s pitched in quite some time, [though] we’ve had him up a couple times in the bullpen. That’s the type of weapon we think Erasmo can be. If we get a short start from our starter, he’s able to go some extra innings and really pitch well for us.”
Ramos comes up big in return: Ramos returned to the Rays’ lineup after missing three games with a tweaked left hamstring. With two outs and a runner on third in the fourth, Ramos fired a pickoff throw to first base to nail Josh Phegley and end the A’s threat. And with two outs in the ninth, Ramos provided the rally-starting hit, lining a single to left off of Casilla. More >
“It made me excited because I’m here to help my team,” Ramos said of his return. “Help my pitcher and help my team to win games. I try to do that every single time and try to do my best.”
“I got the pleasure of watching the last five innings here in the office. Just can’t say enough about the guys and how impressive that ninth inning was.” — Cash on the comeback after his ejection in the fifth inning
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Souza’s homer in the third was hit at 113.2 mph, which was the hardest-hit homer by a Rays player since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. The previous record was 112.1 mph by Miller on June 17, 2016.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the fourth, the Rays successfully challenged that first baseman Logan Morrison tagged A’s baserunner Phegley out on a pickoff throw from catcher Ramos, overturning the original call of safe.
Rays: The Rays will send red-hot rookie right-hander Jacob Faria (4-0, 2.00 ERA) to the mound for the series finale at 3:35 p.m. ET Wednesday in Oakland. Faria has been excellent on the road this year, going 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts and pitching into the seventh inning each time.
Athletics: Right-hander Sonny Gray, the subject of much trade speculation, is scheduled to take the mound in green and gold Wednesday for a 12:35 p.m. PT series finale matchup with the Rays at the Coliseum. Gray has a 1.33 ERA over his last four starts.