Kevin Kiermaier's 10th-inning HR helps Rays beat Angels 6-5
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Kevin Kiermaier took early batting practice even though he wasn't in the starting lineup, and it came in handy when he entered as a defensive replacement.
Kiermaier led off the 10th inning with a home run after rookies Joey Butler and Steven Souza Jr. went deep to account for all the scoring in Tampa Bay's five-run sixth, and the Rays beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-5 on Wednesday night.
''It just felt good to barrel something up and finally swing it with authority and connect like that,'' Kiermaier said. ''It's been an inconsistent kind of season for me, and I wanted to step up big right there for the team.''
Rays closer Brad Boxberger, born in nearby Fullerton, entered in the eighth looking for his first four-out save in the majors. He struck out Matt Joyce to strand a runner at third, but gave up the tying run in the ninth on Erick Aybar's sacrifice fly after getting ahead in the count 0-2.
The Angels called on closer Huston Street (2-2), and his 2-1 fastball was driven deep into the right-field seats by Kiermaier for his fourth homer of the season.
''He spotted the fastball low and away on the first one, then threw two changeups that I laid off of,'' Kiermaier said. ''I figured he was going to throw me another fastball right there, so I just told myself to be on time and ready to hit. Thankfully he left one over the plate, I put a good swing on it and it had enough backspin on it to go out.''
It was the second homer given up by Street in 23 innings this season.
''He was ahead 0-1 and then tried to get soft and got behind the count,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ''He came right back with the fastball and (Kiermaier) didn't miss it. It's going to happen. But Huston's as consistent as any pitcher out there in the major leagues.''
The blown save was the first in 16 opportunities this season for Boxberger (3-3). But he was credited with the win after former Angels righty Steve Geltz followed Xavier Cedeno out of the bullpen and got two outs for his second big league save
Hector Santiago was touched up for five runs and five hits in five-plus innings, after getting staked to a 4-0 lead with Mike Trout's solo homer in the first and Johnny Giavotella's two-run shot in the fourth.
Giavotella's second homer was the Angels' 17th in eight games, following a four-game stretch that didn't produce any.
Butler connected in the sixth. It was the fourth home run for Butler, who came in leading AL rookies with a .333 batting average and .519 slugging percentage.
''He's been magnificent this whole year, and it's been fun to watch,'' Souza said. ''He's a big part of our success right now, and if he keeps that going, we're going to do some good things.''
Santiago gave up a single to Evan Longoria and a walk to Logan Forsythe, then got a visit from pitching coach Mike Butcher before Souza drove his 93rd and final pitch to left field for his 11th homer - most among the league's rookies.
''I think we're flying under the radar, and we like it that way,'' Souza said. ''I don't know when the point comes where teams take us seriously, but we're going to keep going about our business the same way we've been doing since Day 1 and keep playing our game.''
David Freese led off the bottom half with a double and was waved around by third base coach Gary DiSarcina on a ground single toward the middle that went off the glove of diving shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. But Cabrera recovered in time and threw out Freese at the plate by a wide margin as he made a headfirst slide.
''The run-saving play by Cabby was just incredible,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Albert Pujols made it 2-0 when he singled home Kirk Nieuwenhuis for his 1,631st RBI, five behind Ernie Banks for 29th on the career list.
Rays: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (3-2) faces Roenis Elias in the opener of a four-game series at Seattle on Thursday night.
Angels: RHP Jered Weaver (4-4) will oppose Yankees RHP Nathan Eovaldi on Friday night in the opener of a three-game set at New York. The three-time All-Star has given up 19 home runs to the Yanks in 14 career starts - the most he's allowed against any club outside the AL West.