Now that is how you end a slump! After getting off to such a great start for the Rays, Desmond Jennings had been struggling of late with just four hits in his last nine games. It looked like more of the same on Wednesday when Jennings started the game 0 for 3. That was until Desmond sent the first pitch he saw from Rangers reliever Mark Lowe over the fence in left for a Rays’ walk-off win in ten innings.
The win was the 1,000th victory for the Tampa Bay Rays franchise and kept alive the faint playoff hopes of this year’s team. After being shut out yesterday by C.J. Wilson, the Rays were able to put up four runs in the first six innings off Texas starter Derek Holland.
David Price left the game after the sixth with a 4-2 lead, but the Rays’ bullpen was unable to hold the lead and close out the win. The Rays brought in Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth up four to three. Farnsworth got Endy Chavez to fly out to right but then gave up a solo homer to Ian Kinsler to tie the game. The Rays went down in order in their half of the ninth and Texas could only muster a single in the top of the tenth.
The stage was set for Jennings’ heroics as he led off the inning against Lowe, who was brought in to replace Darren Oliver. One pitch later the Rays were jumping in celebration as Jennings crossed home plate. Before the home run, Jennings had just one hit this season against Texas. He is one of many Rays who will be glad this is the last time they will face the Rangers during the regular season.
Not to be lost in the dramatic way the game ended was the way it began, with a two run double off the bat of Ben Zobrist in the first. He became one of only two players to have 100 doubles, 50 homers and 50 stolen bases over the last three seasons. Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun is the other player put up those numbers.
The victory gives Tampa Bay their second straight series win and their fourth win in five games after they had lost four of their previous five. The win also gets the Rays a half game closer in the AL Wildcard race with an all important series against Boston starting Friday.