Walk this way: Rays draw team-record 13 free passes in narrow win over Tigers

Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times on

Published in Baseball

DETROIT — The Rays had to walk Friday before they could run.

Actually, they had to walk a franchise-record 13 times in their effort to score enough runs to beat the Tigers, 5-3.

And to avoid a loss that had the potential to become a signature moment should their season end short of the postseason.

Two batters into the eighth inning, 17 of the 36 Rays who came to the plate had reached base — 12 walks and five hits — and only two had scored as they trailed the Tigers by a run.

But Brandon Lowe, their hottest hitter since his July 16 return from the injured list, changed the score and the narrative, lacing a double to right that scored two and put the Rays up 4-3.

Lowe took third on the throw home, and Isaac Paredes scored him with a single to extend their lead to 5-3.

The Rays hadn’t walked more than 11 times in any previous nine-inning game. They once drew 12 walks during an 11-inning game against the Marlins in 2010.

Friday, they collected the 13 as the Tigers went through seven pitchers. Starter Bryan Garcia set a bad tone, allowing one hit over the first four innings but walking six, with only 36 of his 72 pitches being strikes.


The Rays ended the night with a third straight win — their first such streak since winning five July 11-15 — and improved to 57-49 as they held on to one of the three American League wild-card spots.

Corey Kluber gave the Rays another quality start, allowing three runs over six innings. He allowed three singles in the first that led to one run, then a two-out single and a homer to Riley Greene in the second, and not much else.

A double followed the homer, then Kluber retired 12 straight and 13 of his last 14 hitters.

The Rays, obviously, had plenty of chances early. Most notably, leaving the bases loaded in the second and fifth innings.

They got single runs in the middle innings.

In the fifth, Taylor Walls drew a leadoff walk, went to second on a groundout and scored on a two-out double by David Peralta.

In the sixth, Roman Quinn singled with one out, went to third on a single by Walls and scored when Lowe greeted reliever Andrew Chafin with a left-on-left single.

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