Playoff-bound Rays score 2 in 9th to beat Angels 5-4

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Tampa Bay Rays' Manuel Margot gets gatorade poured on his head after his walk-off single against Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Carlos Estevez during the ninth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Manuel Margot flared a run-scoring single to right field to complete a two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning and the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Rays beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-4 on Thursday

Tampa Bay, which holds the top AL wild card, started the day 2 1/2 games behind AL East-leading Baltimore, which holds the tiebreaker. The Orioles were scheduled to play at Cleveland Thursday night.

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“We know that the Orioles are above us,” Margot said through a translator. “We can't control what they can do. We've just have to be able to control what we can.”

Pinch-hitter Harold Ramírez and Yandy Díaz started the ninth with singles off Angels closer Carlos Estévez (5-5). Ramírez went to third on Curtis Mead’s fly ball and scored to tie it at 4 on Isaac Paredes RBI single.

After Randy Arozarena struck out and Josh Lowe walked to load the bases, Margot delievered his opposite-field game-winning hit that handed Estévez his fourth blown save in 34 chances..

Margot’s RBI double cut the Rays deficit to 4-3 in the sixth. Paredes also had a first-inning run-scoring double and has 92 RBIs.

Andrew Kittredge (2-0) worked a scoreless ninth to get the win.

The late rally prevented the Rays was dropping two of three to the 69-84 Angels, who stopped a six-game skid with an 8-3 win on Wednesday night.

“We've got to create some momentum here,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “Last night was tough, for eight innings (today) it was tough. I'm glad we had the ninth.”

Rays starter Zach Eflin failed in his bid to become the AL's first 16-game winner. The right-hander allowed two runs, six hits and struck out 10 in five innings.

Jo Adell put the Angels ahead 4-2 on his sixth-inning two-run homer off Shawn Armstrong. who entered with a 39 2/3 innings homerless streak.

“I think it was the best we’ve played for a while for three days and to just come out with one win, it’s very frustrating,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “This game isn’t easy. But when you get opportunities to get runs home and don’t do it, (protecting) one run is a tough assignment, to close a game against a really good lineup coming to the top.”

Eflin stayed in the game after taking Jared Walsh's 105.9 mph line drive infield single off his right leg with two outs in the fourth. After Adell walked, David Fletcher lined an RBI single that Lowe misplayed in right field to allow a second run to score as the Angels took a 2-1 lead.

Elfin said he is fine.

Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe finished his at-bat after hitting a hard foul off his left knee in the seventh but left after the eighth. He walked gingerly leaving the clubhouse.

“He's sore,” Cash said. “I think he's going to be very sore tomorrow. Nothing other than that.”

Angels starter Griffin Canning gave up two runs and three hits over five innings.


Angels 3B Michael Stefanic drove toward the line to snare Margot's 110.1 mph liner in the fourth.


Rays reliever Robert Stephenson ran sprints in the outfield wearing a San Francisco 49ers helmet on and jersey of wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Stephenson is from San Francisco.


Angels: RHP Tyler Anderson (knee discomfort) had his scheduled start Friday pushed back to Sunday

Rays: Cash said OF Luke Raley (neck) is “going to miss some time.".. … Reliever Jason Adam (left oblique strain) returned from the 15-day IL.


Angels: RHP Davis Daniel (0-0) will be recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake Friday night to go against Minnesota RHP Pablo López (10-8).

Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (9-6) will face Toronto RHP Chris Bassitt (14-8) on Friday night. Glasnow is 0-3 with a 6.88 ERA in eight ‘starts against the Blue Jays. who hold the second AL wild card spot. Bassitt is looking to join Eflin as the only AL’s 15-game winners.



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