Rays unused to being on wrong end of walk-off

Rays unused to being on wrong end of walk-off

Rays unused to being on wrong end of walk-off
BOSTON -- The Rays were on the losing end of a walk-off victory on Saturday night for the first time in nearly a year.

Closer Fernando Rodney blew his first save of the season, allowing a pinch-hit, two-run walk-off homer to Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, resulting in the Rays' 3-2 loss. The defeat snapped Tampa Bay's 12-game win streak in games decided in walk-off fashion, dating back to last July 23 vs. Kansas City.

"It felt unusual, it didn't feel real good, but it happens," said manager Joe Maddon. "This whole game is all about things balancing out at some point. I didn't even realize [the streak], but I did know it was an awkward feeling."

It was the first pinch-hit walk-off home run ever allowed by the Rays.

Rodney hadn't allowed a walk-off home run since his second Major League game, which was more than a decade ago, on May 8, 2002, when he was with the Angels. He had a chance to tie the club record for consecutive saves to start a season with (16) but is now 15-for-16 in save chances. The right-hander wanted to remain perfect for the year, but Saltalamacchia put an end to those aspirations with his laser over the Boston bullpen in right field.

"I know someday that's going to happen to me," Rodney said. "I'm going to continue working my routine and we'll see what happens."

Both Rodney and setup man Joel Peralta have pitched in each of the last two games. When Maddon met with the media prior to Sunday's game, he was unsure if either would be available for the series finale.

"Any time one of our relievers has a tough game, I really like to get him back out as quickly as possible after that," Maddon said. "I have to find out from [Fernando] and Joel -- they both pitched the last two days in a row. For the most part, the bullpen should be in good shape, but I want to make sure Joel and Fernando are fine for today."

Peralta has worked 1-2-3 eighth innings in each of the first two games of the series. Rodney picked up his 15th save in Friday's 7-4 win.