Mired deep in last place in the American League East standings, the Tampa Bay Rays rallied late and kept the Boston Red Sox from moving within a game of the division lead.
Former Covington Catholic and University of Kentucky star Luke Maile’s two-run homer in the seventh put Tampa Bay into a 3-3 tie and set up Evan Longoria’s game-winning solo shot in the eighth as the Rays rallied to beat the Red Sox 4-3 on Tuesday night in Boston.
“Exciting win. That was a nice come from behind,” Tampa Bay Manager Kevin Cash said.
Maile’s home run, the second of his career, cleared Fenway Park’s famed “Green Monster” in left field.
“That’s definitely the highlight [of my career],” Maile said, according to a report on the Rays’ website. “It’s a great place to play. I have a lot of family that lives up here. Couldn’t feel better about it and glad we got the win.”
The team said that, according to Statcast, Maile’s homer had an exit velocity of 104 mph.
“I knew he was probably going to throw me something offspeed,” Maile said. “I got him with a fastball last week. I never like to sit on pitches. I’ve always just kind of looked for the fastball, but right there I knew I was going to see something offspeed, so I just tried to stay middle and put a good swing on it.”
Maile, who started slowly at the plate, has improved his batting average to .256 with 13 RBI. Over his last seven games, he’s batting .400.
“I made some adjustments,” Maile said. “A lot of the veteran guys have talked to me. I’ve tried to pick their brains as much as I can. Derek Shelton’s been a tremendous help since I’ve gotten here. It’s rolling right now. It’s always an up-and-down game. But right now I feel pretty good.”
Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi didn’t want to discuss much about another strong start that fizzled to a no-decision, but he was thrilled to talk about the performance of his young catcher.
“Luke was the one who made it all count. What a clutch piece of hitting,” he said. “He got his pitch, he was sitting on it, and he made the most of it. Without that swing, we’re not back in the game.”