ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — With a doubleheader coming up and a monthlong chase for a playoff spot looming, Tommy Pham knew the Rays needed to get off the field.
Pham delivered with two outs in the 10th inning against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, driving in Joey Wendle with a single that gave Tampa Bay a 5-4 win.
“I didn’t feel like playing any more innings, especially with a doubleheader tomorrow,” Pham said. “We can’t really afford to have our pitchers out there for an extended amount of innings.”
And even on Labor Day, Pham noted, “We don’t get paid for overtime. So I’m happy.”
Pham’s hit completed Tampa Bay’s fifth straight win, and the Rays held their narrow lead atop the AL wild-card race.
“I don’t think everyone in this locker room understands the situation that’s in front of us,” Pham said. “Before the game I’m playing songs to kind of get us hyped for the situation because I haven’t been in the postseason in three seasons (with the St. Louis Cardinals). It’s not easy. So I’m trying to take advantage of this opportunity.”
At 81-58, Tampa Bay is 23 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2010 season.
Pham’s third hit of the game came off Dillon Tate (0-1) after Wendle walked with one out and moved up on a grounder.
Colin Poche (4-4) pitched one inning for the win.
Austin Meadows’ 25th homer, a two-run drive off Asher Wojciechowski, put the Rays up 2-0 in the third. Pham’s double made it 4-0 in the fifth. Meadows and Pham combined for five of the Rays’ six hits and drove in all five runs.
“They’re going to have to do that,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of his No. 2 and 3 hitters. “They’ve worked really hard to get us to where we’re at, to play this final month with a lot of exciting stuff ahead.”
Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough was sailing along with a 4-0 lead when Hanser Alberto led off the sixth with a home run. Alberto’s 11th homer opened a four-run inning in which Yarbrough gave up five hits and needed 35 pitches.
Mark Trumbo drove in two of the runs with a two-out double, his first RBIs since Aug. 15, 2018. Trumbo was playing for the first time this season after being out with a knee injury.
“I was kind of hoping to do something today and help the cause,” Trumbo said. “Being out there in of itself was a good feeling but it feels much better if you can do something to help the team, especially against a good opponent.”
Yarbrough, who had a 6-0 record and a 1.75 ERA over his preceding 13 appearances, gave up four runs on nine hits with four strikeouts.
SUCCESS IS REVENGE
Pham didn’t appreciate comments from the Baltimore dugout after being hit by Tanner Scott’s pitch just above the right kneecap in the eighth inning. When Tate brushed him back with another pitch in the 10th, “it was kind of like they were cheering him on, that he was buzzing me up and in,” Pham said. “But success is revenge. I got the game-winning hit for us at the end.”
Orioles: Trumbo went 1 for 4 in his first major league game since Aug. 19, 2018.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (strained right forearm) gave up two hits and two walks while striking out three in 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his second rehab appearance for Triple-A Durham. … RHP Yonny Chirinos, out since Aug. 5 with right middle-finger inflammation, remains “a long way away” from returning, Cash said. … OF Kevin Kiermaier was given the day off.
The threat of Hurricane Dorian caused Wednesday’s scheduled game to be moved up to Tuesday as part of a doubleheader, only the Rays’ third twinbill in 22 seasons at Tropicana Field. RHP Trevor Richards will pitch the first game for Tampa Bay against LHP Ty Blach.
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