CHICAGO (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays finally pulled out a close game to win for the first time since their opener. And they were more than a little relieved to stop the slide.
“You probably can’t overstate it,” manager Kevin Cash said.
Mallex Smith matched a career-high with four hits, Alex Colome worked out of a jam in the ninth inning and the Rays stopped an eight-game losing streak by hanging on to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4 on a snowy and soggy Monday.
A bullpen that blew late leads in two of the three games at Boston last weekend got the job done after a shaky start by Chris Archer (1-0). Colome escaped a second-and-third jam in the ninth by getting three straight groundouts, retiring Leury Garcia on a game-ending bouncer to first.
Tampa Bay had not won since beating the Red Sox on March 29.
Chicago lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell to 0-4 at Guaranteed Rate Field, matching its worst home start since 1987.
Smith had an RBI triple in the fourth, then singled and scored in the sixth. He was also thrown out at the plate two times.
Shortstop Tim Anderson nailed him trying to score on a fielder’s choice grounder by Rob Refsnyder in the fourth. Smith was also thrown out by first baseman Jose Abreu in the eighth when he tried to steal home with runners on the corners. The Rays won after a skid that included five one-run losses.
“We’ve lost so many one-run games, especially to Boston, the Yankees, took some tough L’s there,” Smith said. “Getting this win, especially in the circumstance was phenomenal.”
Joey Wendle led off a two-run fifth with his first homer .
Tampa Bay’s bullpen came through after Archer gave up four runs — three earned — and six hits in 52/3 innings.
Sergio Romo pitched 1 1/3 innings, striking out Avisail Garcia with runners on second and third to end the eighth.
Colome, who led the majors with 47 saves last year, escaped in the ninth after blowing two opportunities in Boston over the weekend.
He walked Abreu and gave up a single to Nicky Delmonico that put runners on first and second with none out. They moved up on a wild pitch, and Yolmer Sanchez bounced out to the pitcher. Tim Anderson grounded to third, and Colome retired Leury Garcia for his second save in four chances.
“Feel like we are in every game,” said Delmonico, who hit a two-run homer . “It’s just that one hit or that one AB that can change the game.
Miguel Gonzalez (0-2) gave up four runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings after getting hit hard in a loss at Toronto last week. And the White Sox lost again coming off a three-game sweep by Detroit.
The game was delayed just 21 minutes at the start after more than 2 inches of snow blanketed the field in the morning. Head groundskeeper Roger Bossard and his crew used lawn mowers like snow blowers to clear it. While the crosstown Cubs had their home opener against Pittsburgh postponed, the White Sox and Rays got this one in with Tampa Bay making its lone trip to Chicago this week.
“This was a heck of a challenge,” Bossard said.
“For some reason, when I’m out on the field, I don’t feel anything. My hands are nice and warm before I leave the dugout, but honestly, I don’t feel anything as far as weather.” — Archer, who wore short sleeves.
Rays: Tampa Bay Rays placed 2B Brad Miller on the 10-day DL because of a strained left groin and selected RHP Ryan Weber’s contract from Triple-A Durham. ... CF Kevin Kiermaier was in a walking boot and out of the lineup after bruising his right foot on Sunday.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell (0-1, 5.00 ERA) looks to bounce back after getting roughed up for five runs in 3 1/3 innings by the New York Yankees on Wednesday.
White Sox: RHP Carson Fulmer (0-0, 5.40) looks to build on a somewhat promising first start, when he held Toronto to three runs and five hits over five innings.