ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- John Jaso and the Tampa Bay Rays may have gotten a break on an 11th inning call. Baseball's top team took advantage of it en route to another victory.
Jason Bartlett laid down a sacrifice bunt to drive in the winning run in the 11th as the Rays beat the Cleveland Indians 4-3 on Monday night.Jaso hit a one-out infield single against Jamey Wright (1-2) and went to third on Gabe Kapler's hit-and-run single to right."I was hustling down to first base and seeing if something good would come out of it," said Jaso, who was called safe on a close play. "Luckily it paid off."Indians manager Manny Acta left the dugout to argue with first base umpire Jerry Layne about Jaso's hit."He had the runner beating the throw, which I was thought was absurd," Acta said. "I hate to see the human element being taken out of the game, but I see why so many people ask about instant replay about everything. We played so hard and that guy had no business being on base."Bartlett placed the bunt on the first base side of the mound that Wright fielded and was forced to make a desperation toss from his glove hand toward the plate that went over catcher Mike Redmond's head."A tough loss for our team, a tough loss for me," Wright said.Andy Sonnanstine (1-0), the sixth Tampa Bay reliever, struck out two during a perfect 11th, helping the Rays improve to a major league-best 27-11 this season.Trevor Crowe, filling in for injured center fielder Grady Sizemore, put the Indians up 3-2 with an RBI single during the sixth. The Rays pulled even at 3 on Hank Blalock's two-out, run-scoring single off reliever Chris Perez in the eighth.Crowe just missed making a diving catch on Blalock's game-tying hit."When I was in the air I felt it go in clean and I never felt it pop out," Crowe said. "When I went to look, the ball was rolling on the side."Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead in the first when Carl Crawford had an RBI triple and later scored on Evan Longoria's single. Longoria has driven in 18 runs in his last 18 games.Jhonny Peralta pulled the Indians within 2-1 on second-inning run-scoring single. Luis Valbuena tied it at 2 with an RBI single in the fourth.Fausto Carmona allowed two runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings for the Indians. The right-hander allowed just one baserunner -- a fourth-inning walk to B.J. Upton -- from the second through the sixth.Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann gave up three runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings."I was lucky I had the team pick me up," Niemann said.Cleveland loaded the bases with two outs in the third, but failed to score when Russell Branyan popped out. The Indians also hit into double plays during the fourth and the fifth.Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera left in the first with a broken left forearm. The infielder was hurt when he dove for Blalock's grounder up the middle and Peralta, who also was attempting to make a play, tumbled into him.Trainers placed a protective wrap on Cabrera's forearm. Cabrera will go on the disabled list and will be re-examined Wednesday.Cabrera was on the first base side of second, while third baseman Peralta was positioned at short as part of a defensive shift.
Sizemore, who bruised his left knee Sunday, was available off the bench. "Grady's doing a lot better," Acta said. ... Tampa Bay LHP J.P. Howell (strained left shoulder) shut down his simulated game after 12 pitches due to shoulder discomfort. "It's a setback, no question," manager Joe Maddon said. Howell will be re-evaluated by the team medical staff. ... Rays RHP Joaquin Benoit struck out all five batters he faced.