08/19/07 8:20 PM ET
Guzman's walk-off single wins it in 12th
Shortstop called up Sunday from Triple-A to replace Zobrist
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
By late Sunday afternoon, he was the hit of the show.
Guzman's RBI single in the bottom of the 12th gave the Devil Rays a 4-3 win over the Indians in front of a crowd of 22,329 to avoid a three-game sweep. Once Jonny Gomes scored with the winning run, Rays players mobbed the obviously excited rookie.
"It was my first Major League hit with the Devil Rays and also a walk-off hit," Guzman said. "So it was an unbelievable feeling. I was jumping. I didn't know what to do."
Gomes led off the 12th with a double against Cleveland left-hander Rafael Perez that drew chalk on the left-field line.
"I said 'tennis rules lines are in'", Gomes teased.
Guzman then stepped to the plate.
The 6-foot-6, 230-pound infielder already had experienced an interesting day. Not only did he get called to the Major Leagues, he entered the game at shortstop, the position he played for four years in the Dodgers' farm system before getting moved to third and first prior to the 2006 season.
Perez had Guzman down 1-2 in the count when Guzman hit a slider through the middle. Gomes could not tell if the ball would get through initially, so he headed back to second before starting toward third.
"A three-step and a knuckle drag to get me going back the other way," said Gomes, describing how he eventually got himself going in the right direction.
Cleveland center fielder Grady Sizemore was slow to get to the ball, which prompted Rays third-base coach Tom Foley to wave Gomes home despite his late start.
"Totally surprised," said Gomes about getting sent home. "He kept waving me. It came on me quick. Tell you the truth, coming around third I thought I was going to have to make my boy Alstott proud."
Gomes referred to his friend, Tampa Bay Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott.
"I was about to go retro Alstott on the catcher just to make up the ground," Gomes said. "Luckily no one got hurt and I scored."
James Shields started for the Rays and got off to a rough beginning when he walked Kenny Lofton to start the game and allowed him to score on a Victor Martinez single, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead. Jhonny Peralta's sacrifice fly in the fourth pushed the lead to 2-0.
"Today I didn't really feel good," Shields said. "I was out in the bullpen before the game and I didn't really feel good with all my pitches. My arm didn't really feel too great today, as far as fatigue goes. But that's the way it goes sometimes. You have those days where you're not feeling too good and you pitch all right."
Shields lasted six innings, allowing just two runs on six hits for his 16th quality start of the season, but he got a no-decision.
Indians starter C.C. Sabathia looked untouchable, retiring the first 11 batters he faced before B.J. Upton connected for his 17th home run of the season on a full count with two out in the fourth. In addition to cutting the Indians' lead in half, the home run ended an eight-game streak in which the Rays had not hit a home run.
Carlos Pena tied the game at two in the seventh with his team-leading 27th homer of the season, a solo shot off Sabathia that landed on the roof of the Batter's eye in center field.
"Upton hit a good pitch," Sabathia said. "He did a good job. I could have done a few things different. I made a couple of bad pitches and it cost us the game."
Gary Glover and Dan Wheeler pitched a scoreless inning each to lead the Rays into the ninth when Al Reyes took over.
Reyes pitched the ninth and returned to the mound in the 10th when Asdrubal Cabrera greeted the Rays closer with a leadoff single. One out later, pinch-hitter Trot Nixon singled, then Reyes hit Sizemore to load the bases for Martinez, who drove a ball to deep right field to score Cabrera and give the Indians the lead.
The Rays answered in the bottom of the 10th with a two-out rally against Indians closer Joe Borowski.
Dioner Navarro drew a two-out walk before Akinori Iwamura singled to bring up Carl Crawford, who drilled a single up the middle to score pinch-runner Josh Paul with the tying run.
Scott Dohmann pitched two scoreless innings to get the win for the Rays.
"Shields battles, keeps you in every game," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Bullpen was fabulous. Dohmann was really the hero there for me. As a whole, it was wonderful for all of us. When you pitch like that, you have a chance to win every game."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.