The Tampa Bay Rays are coming off an emotional victory over the San Francisco Giants and look to win the series when the two clubs clash Sunday in the finale of a three-game set at Tropicana Field.
The Rays posted a 2-1 win in extra innings Saturday courtesy of Wil Myers' RBI single in the bottom of the 10th. Myers plated Desmond Jennings with the game- winning run after Evan Longoria walked to load the bases.
"I was trying to hit a home run, which was stupid," Myers said. "I had to settle back down. Luckily I didn't put it in play."
Myers had a team-high two hits and Ben Zobrist drove in a run for the Rays, who remained a game behind Boston for the AL East lead and still have bragging rights in the wild card race.
David Price pitched nine innings and gave up a run in the no-decision and Fernando Rodney received the win thanks to Myers' clutch hit.
"I said there was a lot of room for improvement after last year and this is what I was talking about," Price said. "I'm in command of four pitches right now as opposed to two last year. It's fun."
Tampa Bay ended a two-game slide and will start a five-game road trip Tuesday against Arizona and Los Angeles. The club hopes third baseman Longoria can break out of his slump, as he is hitless in his last 17 at-bats.
"Yep, you just try to help him along," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Longoria. "You try to be patient with it. When he comes out of it, he's going to look exactly like he did prior to the slump. And there's even going to be times within the slump where he looks the same also. It's all based on what he's seeing right now, what's he's feeling right now, what his confidence level is right now. There's a lot of stuff there that's difficult to measure and correct conversationally."
Roberto Hernandez draws the start for the Rays Sunday and he recorded a complete game in Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Diamondbacks. Hernandez allowed two runs and five hits and improved to 6-11 in 20 starts with a 4.71 ERA.
The right-hander has won two of three starts and lost his only appearance against the Giants, as he gave up three runs in six innings of work.
San Francisco had a three-game winning streak cut short Saturday and looks to get back on track in the series finale. Tim Lincecum started for the defending World Series champions, but did not figure into the decision with seven innings of one-run ball, five K's and no walks.
"You want to touch on those positives," Lincecum said, "and use them as a springboard. I use that term a lot, but I think it's necessary in this case."
Jean Machi walked three batters in his relief appearance and surrendered Myers' game-winning hit. Jeff Francoeur had three hits and a run scored and Brandon Crawford had the lone RBI, as the Giants fell for the sixth time in their previous nine tries.
The Giants will return to the bay area after Sunday's game and will start a seven-game homestand Monday versus Milwaukee and Baltimore. But first they hope Guillermo Moscoso can pitch them to a series win over the Rays.
Moscoso will make his first start of the season and is replacing an ineffective Barry Zito in the rotation. Moscoso has made one relief appearance this season, a 7-3 loss at Philadelphia on July 30, when he allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings for a no-decision. The right-hander has made two career starts against Tampa Bay and is 0-1 with an 8.38 ERA.
This series marks the first time the Giants have visited Tampa Bay since they lost two of three to the then-Devil Rays back in 2004. The all-time series is even at four games apiece.