Must win? It just felt that way to Rays

by Gary Shelton on August 27, 2015 · 0 comments

in general

Archer welcomes Butler back to the Trop./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Archer welcomes Butler back to the Trop./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Thursday, 11:26 p.m.

It was not a must win. Do not call it a must win. Teams hate it when you refer to games in August as must wins.

Oh, if you want, you could call it a cool drink after getting lost in the desert. Call it a fine meal for a starving man. Call it a fresh canvas for an artist who suddenly remembered how to paint.

For the Tampa Bay Rays, that will do.

The Rays ended a three-game losing streak and gave themselves a puncher's chance at the wild-card berth in the American League. Oh, the odds are still staggering, because the Rays are chasing the Rangers, Twins, Angels and Orioles. But winning makes everything sound more reasonable, more achievable.

Not only did the Rays win, they also rediscovered an old ally. Reliever Brad Boxberger,

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who had struggled since making the AL All-Star team, was overpowering again. He struck

Boxberger earned his 31st save, moving into a three-way tie to lead the AL./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Boxberger earned his 31st save, moving into a three-way tie to lead the AL./ANDREW J. KRAMER

out the side in the ninth for his 31st save, and once again, the Rays seem to have an advantage in the ninth inning.

This time, Tampa Bay fell behind 4-2 in the fourth, but rallied for the win. Outfielder Joey Butler, just recalled from Durham, singled in the tying run and scored the go-ahead on a wild-pitch. It allowed the Rays to salvage one game from their series with the Twins, but now they face Kansas City, which leads the AL Central over Minnesota by 13 games.

Butler, Daniel Nava, Logan Forsythe and Kevin Kiermier all had two hits for the Rays. Kiermaier had seven hits in the Minnesota series.

Reliever Brandon Gomes picked up the win.

The Rays now play a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals, who lead the AL Central by 13 games over Minnesota. Erasmo Ramirez pitches for the Rays, going for his 11th win, while Edinson Volquez goes for his 12th for Kansas City.

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