St. Petersburg, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers fell into a steep hole early, fought back to tie the score, fell behind again, fought back again, then finally lost in the 10th inning to the Tampa Bay Rays Monday night.Daniel Robertson hit an RBI single in the 10th inning and the Rays won for the 12th time in their last 13 home games, 10-9.
“We battled our way back a couple of times and it came down to bullpens,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It was a wild ballgame and they got us at the end.”
Niko Goodrum had two doubles and three RBIs for the Tigers, who have lost 16 of 20.
“An odd win,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Nice to see our offense come to life. We didn’t do our best on the mound but saying that we’ve been on a pretty impressive run. So I think the guys are allowed a little bit of a hiccup.”
“I’m not exactly sure what took place, but whatever the food we ate before the game today we’ll not be eating tomorrow,” a smiling Cash added.
Tampa Bay, coming off consecutive road shutout wins over the New York Mets, entered with a 1.82 ERA over the previous 15 games.
“The pitching staff has been carrying us,” Robertson said.
Kevin Kiermaier had a one-out triple off Blaine Hardy (3-2) in the 10th. After Matt Duffy walked, Robertson won it on his hit to center.
Matt Andriese (2-3), the eighth Tampa Bay reliever, worked a scoreless 10th. Carlos Gomez put the Rays up 8-7 with his third RBI, coming on a bunt single in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Joey Wendle made it 9-7 on a run-scoring double later in the inning.
The Tigers tied it at 9-all during the eighth when Victor Martinez had an RBI single and pinch-runner JaCoby Jones scored when first baseman Jake Bauers flipped a toss past reliever Sergio Romo for an error on Mikie Mahtook’s infield single.
Tampa Bay opening-day starter Chris Archer lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs and six hits during first outing since going on the 10-day disabled list June 3 with a left abdominal strain.
“I think rusty is a fair term,” Cash said.
Tigers starter Francisco Liriano allowed seven runs and eight hits over 2 1/3 innings. The lefty has given up 29 earned runs in 23 1/3 innings over eight appearances at Tropicana Field.
Goodrum had an RBI double before Jose Iglesias drove in two with a double in a four-run seventh that pulled the Tigers even at 7-7.
The Rays took a 5-0 lead in the first. Two of the runs scored when Tigers right fielder Nick Castellanos lost Adeiny Hechavarria’s two-out fly that dropped for a double.
“He was running, he looked at the second baseman coming out,” Gardenhire said. “Then he looked back up at the lights. I’ve been around domes a long time, and you can’t take your eye off the ball to see where anybody else is.”
Goodrum hit a two-run double during a three-run third that got Detroit within 5-3.
The Rays went up 7-3 later in the third when Wilson Ramos hit a solo shot against Liriano and Gomez had a run-scoring double off Drew VerHagen that took a crazy bounce off second base.