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TB@DET: Ruggiano ties the game with a sac fly

DETROIT -- Through an 11-game road trip that saw the Rays crisscross the country and have multiple players catch a stomach virus, it was understandable that the team couldn't wait to get home.

But even after a missed call cost them a game-tying run, the Rays battled back into their third extra-inning game of the road trip before falling to the Tigers, 2-1, in 10 innings Monday. It was a makeup game for a rainout on May 25.

"Our guys, I could tell from the dugout, they were a little fatigued," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I could see it. There wasn't the same bounce in the step, but we played it all the way through, took them to extra innings, and they ended up beating us. It's just one of those things. But again, I'm really proud of the way we performed tonight."

With the Rays trailing the Tigers, 1-0, in the seventh inning, outfielder Justin Ruggiano led off with a single. Two batters later, he advanced to third on a fielding error by Tigers third baseman Danny Worth. After an intentional walk to outfielder Matt Joyce, first baseman Casey Kotchman came up to bat.

Kotchman hit a ball to Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez, who was playing in his first Major League game since going on the 15-day disabled list on May 11. Ruggiano tested the arm of Ordonez, heading home on the catch.

Ruggiano slid past the tag of Tigers catcher Alex Avila, but also missed home plate. He reached back and touched the plate before Avila tagged him, but home-plate umpire John Tumpane called Ruggiano out, ending the inning and the night for Maddon, who was ejected shortly after protesting the call.

"The replay speaks for itself," Maddon said. "I was kind of disagreeing with the call. That's one of those things where, MLB, we really have to review that stuff. Calls like that happen quite often, and I'm just a little annoyed that sometimes it seems to go against us on the heavy side."

But as they had throughout the entire road trip, the Rays continued to fight.

In the eighth inning, they loaded the bases with one out on three straight singles by catcher Kelly Shoppach, designated hitter Johnny Damon and second baseman Ben Zobrist, and up came Ruggiano.

Ruggiano hit another fly ball to Ordonez, but this time, the run was able to score as Shoppach came in and the Rays tied the game at 1.

The game went into the 10th as the Rays looked to snag their third extra-innings win on the road trip. John Jaso worked a one-out walk and Damon singled as the Rays threatened again. But Zobrist hit a sharp line drive at Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who flipped to second for a double play.

"We put ourselves in some pretty good situations getting the bases loaded in the [seventh and eighth] and threatening in the [10th], but we just couldn't quite come through," Damon said.

With Kyle Farnsworth pitching in the bottom of the 10th, Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez hit a one-out single and scored when the next batter, infielder Ramon Santiago, hit a walk-off triple to end the game.

"I was trying to get a ground-ball double play," Farnsworth said. "It was a sinker that stayed up a little bit and he was obviously looking for a fastball, but it didn't sink and he hit it in the gap."

Rookie starter Alex Cobb had a solid performance for the second straight game for the Rays. Cobb gave up one run on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts. He was able to work out of some jams as well, as the Tigers left 10 men on base against him.

"I saw a really good fastball from him, that's what we've been talking about with him." Maddon said. "Just like with [Jeremy Hellickson], just like with all our starters, when we have our fastball command, we really pitch a really good game, because we have our offspeed off of that. If you don't throw your fastball with command, then the other pitches become more moot -- they don't really have the same kind of impact."

Maddon said before the game that Cobb likely would get one more start before injured pitcher Jeff Niemann returns to the rotation.

"There were a couple pretty good pitches that I made that were ground balls that found a hole, and some not-so-good pitches that found some gloves," Cobb said. "It worked both ways tonight. I got out of some trouble with some well-hit balls, and whenever that happens, you feel fortunate."

The Rays finish at 6-5 on the longest road trip of the season. Monday's game originally was a day off, but because it was rescheduled for the earlier postponement, the Rays will have little rest as they welcome the first-place Red Sox to Tropicana Field on Monday. Despite Maddon's claim that the Rays looked fatigued, Damon said he team wasn't making any excuses.

"This game is made to make you run and do physical activity and all that stuff," Damon said. "We've been prepared to go through the 162-game season, so we're not making any excuses. We had our chances and had a guy called out at home. Who knows what happens after that?" Comments