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Rays Settle For Split After Extra-Inning Loss To Nats

Rays shortstop Taylor Walls hits his first major league home run Wednesday at Tropicana Field. (photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays)
Rays shortstop Taylor Walls hits his first major league home run Wednesday at Tropicana Field. (photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays)

The Tampa Bay Rays gave the Washington Nationals four different two-run leads, including two in extra innings, and came back from three of them before falling 9-7 in 11 innings Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.

The first lead for Washington came three batters into the game, as Rays starter Shane McClanahan walked Trea Turner to start the game, and two batters later Juan Soto connected for his eighth home run of the year for a 2-0 lead.

But Nationals starter Patrick Corbin was equally as rocky in the first, walking Manuel Margot, Yandy Diaz, and Austin Meadows in succession to load the bases with nobody out.  Randy Arozarena then singled off the center field wall to tie the game.  Mike Brosseau‘s sacrifice fly gave Tampa Bay what would end up being its only lead of the night.

Washington tied the game in the third on a home run by Ryan Zimmerman off McClanahan, and again took a two-run lead when Zimmerman connected off Jeffrey Springs two innings later.

The Rays used a solo homer by Taylor Walls, his first major league home run, in the seventh off reliever Kyle Finnegan to cut the deficit back to 5-4.

Joey Wendle‘s pinch-hit homer in the eighth off former Ray Daniel Hudson tied the game back up.

The Nationals broke the tie against Andrew Kittredge in the top of the tenth on a base hit by Yan Gomes and stretched the lead out to 7-5 with a sacrifice fly by Kyle Schwarber, but again Tampa Bay rallied off Brad Hand with a RBI triple by Arozarena and a base hit by Wendle to make it 7-7.

Washington took the lead for good in the eleventh against Diego Castillo, as Starlin Castro took his first pitch and laced it off the wall in left for an RBI double, and after a bunt single by Victor Robles and a strikeout of Turner, Josh Harrison‘s sacrifice fly set the score at 9-7.

Tampa Bay would get the tying run into scoring position in the bottom of the innings against Tanner Rainey, but Meadows struck out to end the game.

Despite the loss, the Rays maintain a 1 1/2 game lead in the American League East as the Boston red Sox also lost at home to Houston.

Tampa Bay will have Thursday off before beginning a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles Friday.

Steve Carney
Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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