TAMPA, Fla. (AP)Isaac Paredes hit a solo homer in the eighth inning and a two-run single with two outs in the ninth, sending the Tampa Bay Rays to a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
Ji-Man Choi and Vidal Brujan reached on two-out walks before Jonathan Aranda’s pinch-hit single loaded the bases against David Bednar (3-2). Paredes then hit an opposite-field liner to right for his game-ending single.
”Very happy,” Paredes said through a translator. ”I was very confident going into that at-bat.”
Paredes’ teammate celebrated by dumping two containers of sports drink and then a bucket of ice on him in front of the Rays dugout after his hit on an 0-2 pitch.
”He’s fun to watch,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ”Certainly picked us up in a big way.”
Pirates manager Derek Shelton said Bednar ”just didn’t execute pitches.”
”He ended up having two walks and that’s very uncharacteristic of him,” Shelton said. ”We were one pitch away multiple times in that inning and were not able to finish it.”
Paredes got the Rays within one in the eighth with his team-leading 10th homer – all over his last 25 games. He has gone deep five times in his last three games.
Ralph Garza Jr. (1-2) worked two scoreless innings for the win in Tampa Bay’s fourth straight one-run game. It also was a Rays-record 11th consecutive game decided by two or fewer runs.
Jack Suwinski hit a three-run homer for the Pirates. JT Brubaker allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings.
Jalen Beeks replaced Tampa Bay’s Corey Kluber with one out in the sixth. The lefty walked Daniel Vogelbach and allowed Bligh Madris’ single that struck an overhanging catwalk before Suwinski connected for his 12th homer.
Suwinski also made a nifty catch along the short wall in left on Luke Raley’s foul ball in the bottom of the sixth.
Kluber allowed two runs and five hits. He was coming off a pair of losses when the right-hander gave up two runs and four hits over six innings in both starts.
Tampa Bay went up 3-2 on Randy Arozarena’s RBI double. Arozarena finished with four hits.
Brujan’s two-run single with two out in the first gave the Rays a 2-0 lead.
Diego Castillo homered and Bryan Reynolds hit an RBI single as the Pirates tied it at 2 in the third. Castillo has gone deep five times in his last 11 games, including Friday night’s 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Rays.
Pirates: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes missed his second consecutive game due to shoulder soreness. He was hurt in a collision at the plate while scoring the winning run in the 10th inning against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.
Rays: Cash is hopeful that INF Wander Franco (right quadriceps strain) will return Sunday after missing 23 games. … RHP Drew Rasmussen (left hamstring strain) could rejoin the rotation in the next week.
First base umpire Angel Hernandez had his out call on Brett Phillips’ second-inning grounder overturned after a video review. … Shortstop Taylor Walls, who entered batting .161, hit leadoff for the Rays and had two hits. … Denny McLain, the major’s last 30-game winner (31-6 with the Detroit Tigers in 1968), was at the game. … Madris had three hits. … The Pirates dropped to 24-2 when leading after eight innings, while Tampa Bay improved to 3-26 when trailing entering the ninth. … Bednar threw 15 strikes and 14 balls and reached 3-ball counts on his first four batters. ””It’s just frustrating,” Bednar said.
Pirates right-hander Roansy Contreras (2-1) and Rays left-hander Shane McClanahan (7-3) are Sunday’s starters. McClanahan is among the leaders in baseball with an 1.81 ERA and 113 strikeouts.
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