Looking to avoid getting swept in a series for the second time on the road trip, the Rays took on the Twins in a pivotal afternoon game.
Ryne Stanek opened this game for the Rays, facing Martin Perez and the Minnesota Twins. After an hour-long rain delay, first pitch was thrown shortly after 2 pm.
Stanek allowed two runs in the first inning, the first run on a sacrifice ground out by Mitch Garver and the second run on a single by Luis Arraez.
Taking the mound for Minnesota was Martin Perez, a pitcher that has not fared well against the Rays offense in his career. With a career 7.49 ERA against the Rays and most recently a six-run start on May 30, there was reason to be optimistic for the Rays offense to snap out of their recent month-long struggles.
Perez quieted the Rays offense in the first inning, but a leadoff walk to start the second inning put Willy Adames on first with no outs. A strikeout and a groundout that advanced Adames to second made things in the inning look bleak, but rookie Mike Brosseau hit a double down the left field line to plate Adames, bringing the Rays within one.
Go down and get it, @mikebrosseau10!— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) June 27, 2019
The @RaysBaseball tie things up with the Twins in the top of the 2nd thanks to Michael Brosseau's double and Guillermo Heredia's single!
:FOX Sports Sun
Stream LIVE: https://t.co/hACHgDdFAV?#RaysUp pic.twitter.com/6wQSIYT7AJ
Guillermo Heredia stepped up to the plate and hit a single down the right field line to plate Brosseau, tying this game at 2-2. For the next 15 innings, the score would stay even at two. Kevin Kiermaier left the game after the second inning and was replaced by Austin Meadows.
Jalen Beeks relieved Stanek in the third inning after Stanek threw two complete innings on 40 pitches, with 28 of those being strikes. Stanek allowed two runs on three hits and struck out three.
Beeks would go on to work the next 3.1 innings, striking out one and walking three while allowing two hits, but not allowing any runs. Beeks threw 48 pitches with 27 of them being strikes before making way to Chaz Roe in the bottom of the sixth with runners on the corners and only one out. Roe induced a ground ball to get the inning-ending double play.
Colin Poche relieved Roe in the bottom of the seventh inning, and Poche pitched a quiet and efficient inning, striking out Jake Cave and getting two flyouts on only 11 pitches.
Tyler Duffey was called upon to pitch the top of the eighth for the Twins, relieving Martin Perez, who was unhittable after Heredia’s RBI single in the second inning. Duffey hit the leadoff batter Joey Wendle, and Wendle advanced to second on a groundout, but ultimately did not score, taking this tie game into the bottom of the eighth.
Poche pitched to the first batter in the bottom of the eighth inning, striking out Jorge Polanco on four pitches. Once again, Poche threw nothing but fastballs in this outing, which is becoming quite an interesting trend.
Andrew Kittredge pitched the rest of the eighth inning, striking out Cruz and Garver to end the inning. With no runs scored in the top of the ninth, Kittredge pitched the bottom half and worked through a fortunate hit by CJ Cron to not allow this game to end, sending this one to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th inning, Blake Parker replaced Taylor Rogers, who replaced Tyler Duffey in the ninth inning. Walking Ji-Man Choi to lead off the inning, Parker allowed back-to-back singles to load the bases, with the second single being a misplayed ball by Jake Cave in right field that could lead some to wonder if Choi should have scored had he not tagged up.
Unfortunately, with the bases loaded and no outs, the Rays stranded the runners, taking this 2-2 game into the bottom of the 10th. Oliver Drake took the ball in the bottom of the 10th, relieving Kittredge after Kittredge threw 1.2 innings, striking out two and throwing 16 pitches. Drake struck out two in his hitless 1-2-3 10th inning. Zack Littell replaced Parker to pitch the top of the 11th for the Twins.
With two outs in the top of the 11th, Willy Adames and Ji-Man Choi drew back-to-back walks. However, neither baserunner scored with the inning ending on a fly out by Austin Meadows. Oliver Drake pitched the bottom of the 11th, striking out two after Yandy Diaz made a great stop to prevent Nelson Cruz from getting a leadoff hit.
The top of the 12th was uneventful for the Rays, who went down 1-2-3, with the Twins summoning Mike Morin to replace Littell. Emilio Pagan relieved Oliver Drake in the bottom of the 12th, and Drake pitched a fantastic two innings, throwing 24 pitches and striking out four while not allowing any hits or walking anybody. Pagan pitched a hitless 12th inning, although he walked a batter, to send this game to the 13th.
Morin silenced the Rays’ bats in the top of the 13th, and Adam Kolarek was called upon to face the top of the Twins order in the bottom of the 13th. Following the first out in the inning, Jorge Polanco doubled and Nelson Cruz was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second with one out for Mitch Garver. Kolarek induced the perfect ground ball to Joey Wendle at second, and the Rays turned two to get out of the inning.
Trevor May was called upon to relieve Mike Morin in the top of the 14th. After Adames struck out to lead the inning, Ji-Man Choi drew a walk, but Choi was eventually stranded at first to send this game to the home half of the 14th. Adam Kolarek threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the 14th, striking out CJ Cron in-between groundouts.
We’re in the 15th inning now. This game has gone on for so long that I think the rest of the league is already at the All-Star break. Tommy Pham just struck out to send this game to the bottom of the 15th, still tied 2-2. Adam Kolarek worked his third straight inning and after two batters, just threw his 20th pitch on the day.
Kolarek struck out Max Kepler to end the inning and send this game into the 16th inning, completing three very good innings of work in relief during this never-ending game. Kolarek threw only 23 pitches, striking out one and allowing a hit while not allowing any runs.
The longer this inning-by-inning recap gets, the easier it will be to understand just how long this game dragged on for watching it live.
In the top of the 16th, with the Rays offense showing no signs of life, Ryan Yarbrough got up in the Rays bullpen and started warming up. Yarbrough took the hill in the bottom of the 16th, facing the heart of the Twins order. Yarbrough struck out two in the 16th to send this game to the 17th inning.
With 175 career starts under his belt, Tuesday against the Rays being one of them, Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson took the mound today for his first career relief appearance. Gibson worked a hitless 17th inning. This game has been going on for over five hours now.
Luis Arraez started the bottom of the 17th with a leadoff single off of Yarbrough. With CJ Cron at the plate, color analyst Brian Anderson predicted that Yarbrough would throw a cutter inside and that would lead to a double play. On the next pitch, CJ Cron swung on a cutter inside and hit into a double play. Yarbrough sent this game to the 18th inning.
With Ryne Harper taking the mound after Gibson’s one inning of work, Brandon Lowe led off the top of the 18th with a walk. Travis d’Arnaud was hit by a pitch, and Tommy Pham singled to load the bases with no outs. Yandy Diaz hit a ball to left field that was caught and Brandon Lowe tagged up and scored, giving the Rays, finally, a 3-2 lead.
Willy Adames singled to extend the lead to 4-2, and Ji-Man Choi followed that up with a single of his own, putting the Rays up by three and making this a 5-2 ballgame. Meadows struck out to end the top half of the inning.
Yarbrough stayed in to try and close this one out, the longest game by innings in Rays history. Jake Cave started the inning with a leadoff single. Yarbrough then struck out Miguel Sano looking despite a full count, marking the 21st strikeout for Rays pitching in this game. Striking out Max Kepler, Yarbrough helped set the new Rays single-game strikeout record at 22. This game finally ended on a fly ball to center fielder Austin Meadows.
Five and a half hours later, after 18 long, seemingly never-ending innings, the Rays finally beat the Twins 5-2. The Rays will return home tonight and play the Rangers tomorrow, with first pitch taking place at 7 pm.