The Rays could not complete a needed sweep in Wrigley Field, falling 3-2 in 12 innings Sunday afternoon. A victory would have moved the Rays to one game under the .500 mark but they could not keep a pair of one-run leads.
Chicago won it against little-used Rays lefty Cesar Ramos. With runners on the corners and one out, the Rays brought in five infielders to face Anthony Rizzo, and after a wild pitch Rizzo lifted the game-winning single deep to right.
Ryan Sweeney led off the 12th with a single and was bunted over. Then Ramos actually struck out Baez, but catcher Curt Casali let the low curveball bounce over him allowing Baez to reach first easily, with Sweeney moving to third.
"That was the key to the inning right there," said Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Tampa Bay led 2-1 thanks to a solid double by Desmond Jennings in the seventh but Grant Balfour gave it right back. After retiring the first two batters he faced in relief of starter Alex Cobb, Balfour allowed a double then tying triple by Chris Coghlan.
Really though Balfour should have taken the hill with a 5-1 lead. Evan Longoria and especially Sean Rodriguez both hit blasts to left field, which would have three-run homers under normal conditions. But the wind was blowing strongly in at Wrigley Field, knocking both into flyouts.
Rodriguez's ball was crushed. After it somehow stayed in, he mockingly bent down and did push-ups.
Maddon said if Rodriguez hit that ball in Tropicana Field, it would have landed in the back row.
Jennings was 2-for-4 and provided both runs, getting an infield single that Cubs 2B Javier Baez threw away for an unearned run in the fifth.
Brad Boxberger struck out five in two innings of work before turning it over to Ramos. Cobb worked six frames, striking out six, but with the Rays playing in an NL park was pulled for a pinch-hitter leading off the seventh (Brandon Guyer did single and score the go-ahead run).
Tampa Bay next heads to Texas to take on another cellar dwellar. The four-game series is another the Rays must be victorious in to keep their Wild Card hopes realistic.