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Rays

Rays outlast Mariners for 14-inning victory

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 09:21 PM
ST. PETERSBURG -

The reaction from the Tampa Bay Rays fans remaining inside Tropicana Field as Friday night neared Saturday morning told Carlos Peña that the ball Ben Zobrist hit down the first base line was speeding into right field.

So Peña, who was on first base and headed for second, looked for third base coach Tom Foley.

And Foley's right arm was spinning like a windmill.

"I knew the ball was through, and I'm thinking I was going to score," Peña said.

One problem (actually, make that two problems): Peña's legs.

"Of course when I hit third my gas tank got on empty. I'm like, what's going on? I need these legs to go an extra 70 feet," Peña said.

No worries.

A poor throw from Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki that missed the cutoff man enabled Peña to outrace the ball to home plate and slide ahead of the tag from catcher Jesus Montero.

"It might not have been the most graceful run from third to home," Peña said, "but it was effective."

It was Rays 4, Mariners 3 in 14 innings, ending a game that took 4 hours, 46 minutes to play, featured 14 pitchers - seven per side - and saw 32 players strike out, a record for combined strikeouts in a Rays game.

"You're going to stick around that long, you got to win it," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Those in the crowd of 14,143 who stayed until the end witnessed the Rays winning back-to-back games for the first time since July 2-3 ,when they beat the Yankees.

They saw the James Shields of 2010, one who shut down a lineup for the most part and struck out 10 over 7 2/3 innings.

Shields allowed a first inning run and gave up a seventh-inning lead when he allowed a two-run homer to Carlos Peguero. But he allowed only four hits, a far cry from the 10 or more he allowed in each of his previous four starts.

Shields pitched off his fastball and had a good curveball.

"I thought he looked more normal, like we're used to from the past year," Maddon said. "So I really want to believe that's something great to build off of, because he was outstanding."

B.J. Upton started the Rays' scoring with a home run to lead off the sixth inning. It was his ninth of the season, every one a solo shot.

Jeff Keppinger gave the Rays a 2-1 lead in the same frame when he singled home Zobrist.

The Mariners took a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh, but the Rays tied it in the bottom of the inning when Desmond Jennings led off with a double and eventually scored on an infield single by Upton.

It stood that way until the 14th, though the Rays certainly had their chances to send everyone home at a decent hour.

Upton walked to start the 10th and stole second, but was stranded at third base when pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui lined out to left field to end the inning with the bases loaded.

Matsui was hitting for Luke Scott, who left the game because of right mid-back stiffness.

Scott said the injury is not as bad as the one that sent him to the disabled list in June for 17 days. He said he will know today whether it will be a day-to-day issue.

Jennings led off the 11th with a walk, stole second but stayed there when the next three Rays were retired in order.

In the 12th inning it was Zobrist who reached and stole second base, only this time Zobrist reached with one out after getting hit with a pitch. Didn't matter. Matsui struck out to end that threat.

Maddon used Joel Peralta, Fernando Rodney, Kyle Farnsworth, J.P. Howell, Burke Badenhop and Jake McGee in relief of Shields. He said McGee was headed back out for the 15th had the Rays not scored in the 14th. Had the game continued, David Price would have pitched the 16th. If there was a 17th inning, Matsui would have made his Rays debut as a pitcher.

As it was, Mariner manager Eric Wedge had catcher Miguel Olive warming in the bullpen.

Maddon said the team might have to make a move today to add a fresh arm in the bullpen. But as Friday turned into Saturday morning, Maddon said that decision had not yet been made.

Peña lined a one-out single in front of Suzuki in left field in the bottom of the 14th. Zobrist followed and pulled the ball down the first base line and past Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak.

"When I'm on first I'm thinking anything in the gap, down the line I'm going to score," Peña said.

So, Peña was off and running.

"With Ichiro out there I didn't think we had much of a chance, but Carlos was really hustling and Foley took the chance," Zobrist said.

"Just really thankful that we were able to get the run. I think everybody was thankful."

Peña said the Rays kept telling themselves they were going to win the game, even after they left the winning run in scoring position in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings.

"It's like who can take the most pain at the end of the day," Peña said. "Who can endure the pain? And (Friday) we were the ones who could endure it all the way to the end."

It ended with a dash to the plate and a slide that wasn't the most graceful, Peña said.

But it ended with a Rays victory.

"It's kind of a relief," Zobrist said. "I think everybody in the 14th inning is starting to think, 'OK, we got a game tomorrow night at 7 p.m., too, so let's win this one ASAP.' That was our goal back in the ninth, but we just couldn't get it done. We had several opportunities.

"Just fortunate that we were able to get it done and get the win. It was a big win for us."

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