SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Rays outfielder Luke Raley’s first thought when he powered a first-pitch slider into Triples Alley at Oracle Park was to make it to third base. When Raley saw the ball take a few fortuitous bounces, he knew he wasn’t stopping until he crossed home plate.
Raley had the first pinch-hit, inside-the-park home run in Tampa Bay history and Aaron Civale pitched six strong innings for his first victory since being acquired at the trade deadline in the Rays’ 6-1 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
“I didn’t draw it up that way,” Raley joked. “I would rather just hit it over the wall and then be able to jog, but they all count the same.”
Raley hit a ball off Ross Stripling that ricocheted off the brick wall in right-center, bounced off the top of the 7-foot outfield wall near center and then dropped and rolled on the warning track toward left field, scooting past Giants rookie center fielder Wade Meckler. Raley, who had been in a 4-for-29 slump in August, raced around the bases and scored standing up for his 17th homer of the season.
“That was really cool,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It looked like a rat running across the top of the fence.”
According to the Rays, it’s the first pinch-hit, inside-the-park home run in the majors since Victor Reyes had one for Detroit on Aug. 27, 2021.
Brandon Lowe hit his 100th career home run and Josh Lowe also went deep to help the Rays stay close to the AL East-leading Orioles. Tampa Bay entered play Wednesday three games behind Baltimore, which plays in San Diego Wednesday night.
Raley’s home run highlighted a 14-hit attack for the scuffling Rays, who broke out of their collective offensive slump one day after being limited to three hits and shut out for the fifth time this season.
Isaac Paredes had three hits and seven other starters had at least one. Josh Lowe hit his 15th home run leading off the fourth, while Brandon Lowe connected for his 16th as part of a three-run fifth.
“Maybe some frustration from last night carried over,” Cash said. “They made sure that they were going to have some better at-bats early on and we did, got some big hits.”
Joc Pederson and Johan Camargo had two hits apiece for San Francisco, which has lost six of its last eight games.
Civale (6-3) bounced back with one of his sharpest outings of the season after being tagged for a 4.82 ERA during his first two starts with Tampa Bay following a trade from Cleveland on July 30. The right-hander allowed five hits and had five strikeouts with one walk in winning for the first time since his last start for the Guardians, before being traded later that day.
“(Catcher Christian Bethancourt) and I were locked in right from the get-,” Civale said. “The comfortability’s getting there.”
San Francisco scored its only run on a bases-loaded walk by Hector Lopez with one out in the seventh. Colin Poche replaced Lopez and got pinch-hitter Austin Slater to ground into a double play on his second pitch.
Jason Adam and Pete Fairbanks retired three batters each to end it.
Stripling, one of San Francisco’s top offseason additions, gave up 11 hits and five runs in six innings. Ryan Walker (4-2) allowed one run in one inning as the Giants opener.
Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena was thrown out trying to steal third base by Giants catcher Blake Sabol as part of a double play in the first inning. It was the 31st time in 119 attempts that Sabol and San Francisco starter Patrick Bailey have caught runners trying to steal.
THROWN OUT PART II
Two batters after Josh Lowe’s home run, Jose Siri singled and was thrown out trying for second by Giants’ left fielder Heliot Ramos. It was the first career assist for the 23-year-old rookie, who later committed the first error of his career in the majors.
Rays: Siri underwent X-rays and suffered a sprained pinky when he was thrown out. Cash sounded optimistic that the injury wouldn’t keep Siri out long. … RHP Kevin Kelly was placed on the 15-day injured list with a left ankle sprain. RHP Hector Perez was called up from Triple-A Durham. RHP Ryan Thompson was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Perez.
Rays: Have not named a starter for Thursday’s game against LHP Tyler Anderson (5-4, 5.28 ERA) and the Angels in Los Angeles. Cash said it will likely be a bullpen game for Tampa Bay.
Giants: After an off day Thursday, San Francisco begins a three-game series in Atlanta. The team has not announced a starter for the game.
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