Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida
By ANDREW ASTLEFORD  |  Last updated 8/15/13
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ninth-inning tension was brushed away by a surprising bat, the Tampa Bay Rays longest losing streak in two years drowned in the emotion shown between first and second bases. There, teammates bounced around previously unheralded outfielder Jason Bourgeois, marking the end of their six-game slide. Rays manager Joe Maddon said it best, while lounging in his office after a satisfying 5-4 victory over the Mariners on Wednesday at Tropicana Field that was clinched on Bourgeois single to right field with the bases loaded: It is always almost never simple when things become a little awkward. Sometimes, it takes an awkward game, with an unsuspecting star, to become refocused. "Thats awesome, man," Bourgeois said of the postgame celebration, which occurred after his first hit as a Rays player. "These guys know how to do it. ... It was a moment I'll never forget, I'll tell you that." Nothing more needs to be told. So many dominoes had to fall for this moment to occur: Desmond Jennings being placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 6 (retroactive to Aug. 4) with a fractured left middle finger; the Rays selecting Bourgeois' contract from Triple-A Durham on Aug. 6; Bourgeois being picked to pinch run for James Loney in the eighth inning Wednesday with Tampa Bay trailing 4-3; a ninth-inning flurry against Seattle closer Danny Farquhar, which included a Ben Zobrist triple, a Matt Joyce single, an Evan Longoria double and a Wil Myers intentional walk. There are sequences in baseball that tickle the imagination, and this was one of those. Bourgeois, 31, has spent parts of six seasons in the majors, but before Wednesday, he had only one other game-ending hit. The other occurred on April 30, 2011, a single to left field against the Milwaukee Brewers' Kameron Loe at Minute Maid Park. He learned this: Game-ending fame, Rays style, is much more memorable. Bourgeois smiled as he recalled the reaction to his first game-ending hit with the Astros: "We went there and showered up and went home." This was much different, to put it tamely: Lights blinded him in the charged clubhouse, and there was yelling, pointing, noise everywhere, to complement a night to remember. "It felt great," said Bourgeois, who was 0 for 5 with the Rays before his ninth-inning at-bat. "I didn't know if I was going to have a chance to come up in that situation. We battled tonight, from (David) Price's standpoint to up at the plate. I'm happy to be a part of it." The larger picture: The losing streak, which had been Tampa Bay's longest since dropping their first six of the 2011 season, is history. The Rays improved to 3-40 this season when trailing after eight innings, and the Mariners fell to 49-5 when leading after eight. Tampa Bay stands three games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, each victory key as the rivals appear primed to compete late in the regular seasons final months. "Our team winning is the biggest thing now, said Price, who allowed four runs and five hits in seven innings. "To come from behind like that against Farquhar, after he slammed the door on us yesterday, that's huge. Our offense hasn't given up all year long." And before a dramatic moment, Maddon refused to give up on Bourgeois. Shortly before the player approached the plate, Maddon spoke to Bourgeois in the dugout and checked to make sure he was prepared. "Do you know all the signs?" Maddon recalled saying. Bourgeois did. "Beautiful moment," Maddon said later in his office, the losing streak part of the past. By then, all tension was long gone. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL, NFLPA release joint statement after anthem meeting

Ezekiel Elliott loses latest appeal, remains suspended

Mike Zimmer defends Anthony Barr for hit on Aaron Rodgers

Urban Meyer’s wife tries to clarify stance on Kaepernick

LeBron James a game-time decision for opener with ankle injury

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Sam Ponder takes aim at Barstool Sports amid news of ESPN show

Pregame pyrotechnics out for Warriors’ home opener in wake of wildfires

H.S. coach possibly facing charges for disciplining players with punches

LeBron felt Gilbert’s infamous letter had racial undertones

Winners and losers from Monday Night Football in Week 6

Aaron Judge finally doesn’t strike out, crushes three-run home run

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House looms large over sports world for another week

The 'A butcher, a Baker, a touchdown maker' quiz

Tale of the tape: American League Championship Series

What's trending up, down so far in the NFL

Three Up, Three Down: Divisional Series brings both luck and heartbreak

The 'Adrian Peterson hopes to rise from the ashes in Phoenix' quiz

College football 2017 Week 7 predictions

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

NFL Week 6 predictions

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House looms large over sports world for another week

The 'A butcher, a Baker, a touchdown maker' quiz

Tale of the tape: American League Championship Series

Three Up, Three Down: Divisional Series brings both luck and heartbreak

The 'Adrian Peterson hopes to rise from the ashes in Phoenix' quiz

What's trending up, down so far in the NFL

NFL Week 6 predictions

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker