Rays escape jam in 9th inning, hold off Cubs for a 4-3 win


CHICAGO (AP) — Brandon Lowe and Jose Siri each hit two-run homers late in the game, Jalen Beeks got the final two outs after coming in with the bases loaded and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Chicago Cubs, 4-3, on Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep.

The Rays pulled out a tight one after dropping 1-0 and 2-1 nailbiters, and they dodged their first sweep of the season.

Lowe greeted Mark Leiter Jr. (1-1) with a long two-run homer to center in the seventh to tie it at 2-all and Siri connected in the eighth to give Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead after Chicago scored a run.

Kevin Kelly came into the game in the ninth for Tampa Bay and walked Mike Tauchman and hit a pinch-hitting Edwin Ríos. Third baseman Isaac Paredes then bounced the throw trying to get the runner at second after fielding Patrick Wisdom’s grounder, loading the bases.

Beeks came in and struck out Miles Mastrobuoni swinging at a 3-2 pitch. He fell behind 3-0 to Yan Gomes before retiring him on a line drive to left field to end the game and came away with his first save this year.

Seiya Suzuki chased Rays starter Zach Eflin with a leadoff double in the seventh and came around on a line-drive single to deep left by pinch hitter Trey Mancini against Colin Poche (4-1), putting Chicago on top 3-2. Mancini got thrown out trying to reach second base on the play, and the lead disappeared in a flash.

Leiter walked Taylor Walls leading off the eighth, and Siri followed with a two-run drive to center, giving Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead. The Rays had runners on first and third with one out following back-to-back singles by Randy Arozarena and pinch hitter Josh Lowe. But Adbert Alzolay got Paredes to ground into a double play.

The Cubs threatened in the bottom half, with men on second and third. But Jason Adam caught Ian Happ looking at a 3-2 pitch with the fans on their feet, ending that threat.

Eflin gave up three runs and four hits. He struck out five and walked one.

Cubs starter Justin Steele retired all nine batters before exiting with tightness in his left forearm.

Hayden Wesneski pitched one-hit ball over 3 2/3 innings and exited to cheers after walking Manuel Margot with two outs in the seventh.

Rays: Tampa Bay opens a four-game series at Boston on Friday, and neither team had announced its starter.

Cubs: Struggling RHP Jameson Taillon (0-3, 8.04) seeks his first win as Chicago opens a four-game series at San Diego on Friday. Signed in December to a four-year deal worth about $68 million, Taillon has allowed four or more runs in four straight starts for the first time in his career.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press.

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