9/21/2013 6:36 P.M. ET
Rays in good hands with Escobar at shortstop
By Sam Strong / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Perhaps the fact that Friday's game lasted 18 innings, 10 of them scoreless, had something to do with the record-breaking defenses both the Rays and Orioles had on the field.
Through 152 games, the Orioles (47) and Rays (55) have the two lowest error totals in Major League history. Both are on pace to break the Mariners' single-season record of 65, set in 2003.
"The level of defense we have played this year is probably as good as you're going to get anywhere," manager Joe Maddon said. "I know Baltimore has made fewer errors, but I don't know if they've gotten to as many balls. We've played catch pretty good all year."
Maddon considers the 2013 Rays his best defensive squad since he arrived in 2006, thanks in large part to Yunel Escobar, who is on pace to break the team record for fielding percentage by a shortstop.
The knock on Escobar before he joined Tampa Bay was that he could make the flashy play but struggled at times with run-of-the-mill ground balls.
Maddon hasn't seen that.
"He's killed the routine play, absolutely annihilated it," Maddon said, adding that Escobar deserves Gold Glove consideration. "I don't think anyone could possibly be better at the routine play than he has been this year. Watch how hard James Loney has to work to catch his throws. They're right in his chest. I think he has been spectacular, and he's benefited from our positioning. It's hard to imagine anyone being more consistent on defense than he has been this year."
Maddon also gave high praise to Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who has made just 13 errors in 153 starts.
"Machado has really been the biggest difference on that team," he said. "They have a lot of really good players, but what Machado has done ... I remember playing them before him, and a lot of times, there would be a little mistake at third base that would put you on the right side of the game. There are no mistakes there."
Young Rays raise hope for bright future
ST. PETERSBURG -- The expansion of rosters in September affords all Major League teams more players, and the Rays got the most out of their depth in Friday's 18-inning win, which lasted nearly seven hours.
Tampa Bay used 28 players, many of whom were helping Triple-A Durham to an International League championship earlier in the week.
Infielder Tim Beckham entered the game in the bottom of the 14th, with catcher Chris Gimenez coming on in during the 15th and finishing the game at first base. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi handled the 11th, 12th, 13th and two-thirds of the 14th inning, allowing just one hit.
"I thought Beckham was calm in the moment and Gimenez always is, I know that," manager Joe Maddon said early Saturday morning. "Odorizzi was fantastic. He really permitted all of that to happen. Durham showed why they won the championship tonight."
The fact that the young players played a prominent role in such a big game can only bode well down the road, according to Maddon.
"Those kids were outstanding," he said. "What a great experience for all of them. When I'm looking at that, I'm looking at the future. We're breaking them in under these circumstances and they're surviving well? That's pretty cool."
Rays bring up Beliveau to boost bullpen
ST. PETERSBURG -- It turns out that Friday's 18-inning marathon win over the Orioles had effects that reached far wider than the Tampa Bay area.
Left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau was celebrating a friend's birthday in Providence, R.I., when he got a call at 1 a.m. ET.
He thought he had pitched his final game of the season for Triple-A Durham, and team officials had already told him that he was not a part of the Major League club's September plans.
"I saw a St. Pete number, and I'm thinking, 'This could be good, or it could be bad,'" Beliveau said on Saturday morning from his new locker in the Rays' clubhouse. "That was when they were in the 11th inning. They just said, 'Be ready.' My flight was at 7."
Apparently, the Rays' plans changed after using a Major League-record 11 pitchers on Friday.
Beliveau had been deciding whether to play winter ball or shut down his arm for the offseason. Instead he was recalled for the fourth time this season. He has yet to appear in any of the five games he has spent with the club.
"You take it in stride," he said. "You just try to pitch well for whatever team you're on."
Beliveau went 2-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 38 games for the Bulls.
Rays send De Los Santos to White Sox
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays on Saturday traded left-hander Frank De Los Santos to the White Sox for a player to be named or cash considerations.
The move clears De Los Santos from the 40-man roster, presumably to clear space for the activation of right-handed reliever Jesse Crain (strained right shoulder) or the promotion of a fill-in starter for Sunday.
Following Saturday's 5-1 win over the Orioles, the team had not announced a starter. Jeremy Hellickson had been scheduled to make his 31st start of the season but threw 41 pitches in relief during Friday's 18-inning contest, the longest game in franchise history.
De Los Santos, who has never appeared in a Major League game, compiled a 5.34 ERA over 26 appearances for Triple-A Durham this season.
Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.