Rays win in improbable comeback vs. Yanks

by Gary Shelton on May 8, 2023

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

Take all the comebacks in the history of the Tampa Bay Rays. Consider this walk-off and the drama and the celebrations at home plate.

This one beat almost all of them.

The Tampa Bay Rays won the comebackiest game in recent memory Sunday afternoon, coming from six runs back with the nearly unbeatable Gerrit Cole on the mound for a 10-inning, 8-7 victory. It was not so much chasing down an opponent as it was like climbing a mountain...barefoot...in the dark.

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What are the odds of this? Cole was in charge, gliding to a big lead against a team that was having its own mound problems. He retired 13 of the first 17 batters he faced.

And then...

-- Isaac Paredes, the pull-happy third baseman of the Rays, singled to right field to drive in Brandon Lowe with the winning run.

-- Christian Bethancourt, hitting just .233 on the season, launched a three-run homer to tie the game in the sixth.

-- Jose Siri scored from second base on a ground ball back to the pitcher to give the Rays their first lead.

-- Seven of the final nine batters faced by Cole reached base.

When a team has to come back this far, it does so with some memorable moments. Randy Arozarena, Harold Ramirez and Paredes all had two hits for the Rays.

Perhaps the only bigger comeback in team history was another 8-7 win over the Yankees in 2011, when Evan Longoria’s homer capped a rally from a 7-0 deficit that sent the team to the post-season.

For May, however, this was as good as it gets.

In some ways, it was lucky the Rays were within six. Josh Fleming was roughed up in five innings, giving up six runs and seven hits. Jalen Beeks got the win, throwing just six pitches before striking out Anthony Rizzo in the 10th.

"We probably had the right two guys up with their bat-to-ball skills," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "Isaac is a dead pull hitter but he has the ability to go the other way."

The Rays are now 28-7 on the season. They open a series in Baltimore tonight at 6:40 p.m. against the Orioles. Shane McClanahan will start for the Rays against Kyle Gibson.

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