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Rookie Myers keeps up torrid pace, Rays win
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Wil Myers had never been a part of anything like the celebration that greeted him after he drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning in Tampa Bay's 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.
"It was wild," Myers said. "Just wild."
The Ray's rookie went 2-for-5 and is now batting .413 (19-for-46) since the All-Star break.
Myers was facing Jean Machi, the fifth Giant reliever of the game, who had walked the bases loaded with no one out. Coming into Saturday's game, Machi had issued only six walks in 40 2/3 career innings, and never more than one walk in an appearance.
"I was just looking for a pitch to hit, just to put the ball in play up the middle," Myers said. "I thought I'd have a good at-bat. It was a good situation to be in, bases loaded and no outs.
"I tried to stay calm. Being in that situation I knew I'd see a pitch in the strike zone."
He did, and he didn't miss it.
The game was billed as a pitching duel between two former Cy Young winners, the Rays' David Price and the Giants' Tim Lincecum. For the most part, it lived up to the billing, but by the time Myers stepped to the plate in the 10th, neither starter was still around.
Price went nine innings, allowing only five hits and one earned run, an RBI single by Brandon Crawford in the bottom of the third. At one stretch, Price retired 13 of 14 batters he faced, and he left with the score tied 1-1.
"I wanted to go back out," Price said. "Joe (Maddon) doesn't come over and ask us how we feel, he just comes over and tells us when we're done."
And Price was done, but not before the Ray's manager pulled out all the stops trying to get a run across in the ninth so Price could earn the win.
By the time ninth inning was over, the Rays had emptied their bench and used every position player.
Giants manager, Bruce Bochy, countered with three relievers in the inning, but the chess match ended with the score knotted at 1-1.
Lincecum also was effective, retiring 11 of 14 batters after allowing a run in the bottom of the third.
Bochy finally went to the bullpen in the eighth.
"He's in a good place," Bochy said of Lincecum. "He's strong, he's got a lot of confidence going, and he's pitching like that -- using all his pitches. That's a tough lineup, and he was on top of his game. Well pitched game on both sides."
But Lincecum hasn't gotten much help from his teammates of late, receiving two or fewer runs of support in 14 of his last 22 starts and Saturday night marked the 10th time the Giants have either been shutout or scored only one run during his start.
"I've just been sticking with my game plan, my pitch plan with my catcher," Lincecum said. "That kind of alleviates any stress or pressure on any given inning."
Fernando Rodney (4-2) entered in the 10th for the Rays and immediately got into trouble. He allowed a leadoff double to Hunter Pence. Jeff Francoeur bounced back to the mound and Rodney struck out Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford.
The win was the Rays seventh walk-off and their first since July 10, and for his part.
"We were very fortunate to come out with the win," Maddon said. "I don't know if I've ever seen David Price pitch this well for this long a stretch. I'm talking about pitch efficiency, number of pitches, location, command within the strike zone, velocity, all that stuff is better now than it had been last year."
The Rays are now 8-2 when Price goes at least seven innings, and 0-6 when he doesn't.
"I'm executing pitches," Price said. "Going out there and making strong pitches in the strike zone. I'm in command of four pitches right now as opposed to only having two last year."
NOTES: The Rays have not lost a series since June 18-19 in Boston. They are 10-0-2 in 12 series since then. ... Maddon praised Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hall of Fame inductee Warren Sapp, calling Sapp a "Friend O' Rays" and said that if Sapp had played baseball he would have been a catcher. "In a race with catcher Jose Molina, I got Warren," Maddon said. "I got Sapp in that foot race." ... The Giants have struggled on the road this season, going 21-33. However, they had won six of their last eight road games coming into Saturday night. ... During the Giants' three-game winning streak, their starting pitchers had yielded just three earned runs in 22 innings (1.23 ERA).