Two big innings bookend Rays' attack

Three-run first, five-run eighth fuel rally against Red Sox

Two big innings bookend Rays' attack

ST. PETERSBURG -- Crooked numbers were the order of the day for the Rays on Friday night in an 8-4 win over the Red Sox at Tropicana Field.

The Rays' oft-maligned offense struck for 12 hits, giving them double digits for the fifth consecutive game, fueling a three-run first and a five-run eighth.

"We had a lot of good at-bats from everybody," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

In short, the offense is alive and thriving. And it's also keeping Tampa Bay's postseason dreams alive. With the win, the Rays remained five games behind Texas for the second American League Wild Card spot with 22 left to play.

Trailing 1-0 before their first at-bat, the Rays came out swinging. Brandon Guyer doubled off Red Sox lefty Wade Miley to start the first-inning assault. Mikie Mahtook singled home Guyer, and Evan Longoria doubled home Mahtook before scoring on Steven Souza Jr.'s single for a 3-1 lead.

Souza Jr.'s RBI single

But the Red Sox fought back to take a 4-3 lead, and the Rays stalled in the seventh after Kevin Kiermaier doubled to lead off the inning. He moved to third on a wild pitch by Miley and one out later, Guyer grounded to Sandoval at third. Kiermaier broke for the plate.

Sandoval's throw to Ryan Hanigan arrived in plenty of time for the Red Sox catcher to apply the the tag on Kiermaier, erasing a potential game-tying run.

Panda nabs Kiermaier at home

The Rays' offense did not let the play take the wind out of its sail.

Junichi Tazawa took over for Miley to start the eighth, and Longoria greeted him with a leadoff double before  Logan Forsythe slashed a single to right to tie the score at 4.

Forsythe's game-tying single

"[Forsythe's hit] was huge," Cash said. "We're asking our four-hole hitter in Logan tonight to do everything he can to get him over. That shows the team concept. I know he got the hit, but he's sacrificing himself right there to do everything he can to get the ball to the right side of the field."

Tazawa then fell behind, 3-1, to Asdrubal Cabrera, and the veteran shortstop turned on a fastball, launching his 12th home run of the season over the wall in right-center field.

"I was looking for that pitch, a pitch I can hit far or move the runner," Cabrera said.

Cabrera's go-ahead two-run shot

The Rays continued to push for more. With two outs in the inning, the Red Sox brought in Noe Ramirez to face J.P. Arencibia with a runner on third. Arencibia rerouted an 0-1 pitch for his fifth home run of the season to cap the five-running inning and put the Rays up, 8-4. The five-run inning was the Rays' highest output in an inning since they scored six in the seventh Aug. 12 against the Braves.

"[Arencibia's home run] was a big one, because it allowed us to separate the game a little bit," Cash said. "We were down, tied, then ended up separating it a little bit. We play tight ballgames. I think that's a credit to our pitching, our defense. It is nice when you do it late in the ballgame like we did tonight."

Arencibia's two-run homer

Eight of Arencibia's last nine hits have gone for extra bases. He has five home runs in 34 at-bats with the Rays and 27 homers in 440 at-bats between the Major and Minor Leagues this season.

"For me, the biggest thing was to give us a four-run lead there," Arencibia said. "Every game is important. So that was the coolest part, to be a part of a win."

Arencibia touched on how the Rays did not let the seventh-inning lapse defeat them the next time up.

"Our leader, Longoria, leads off with a double," Arencibia said. "Forsythe's been hot. He gets another hit. Cabby goes deep. It's one of those things where this game can snowball pretty quick. Fortunately for us, we were on the good end tonight."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.