ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay left fielder Mallex Smith rushed in to tag out speedy Billy Hamilton after a lengthy rundown, highlighting the Rays’ 8-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
Hamilton stole his major league-leading 31st base in the fourth inning. But he later got trapped when he thought about scoring from second base on a two-out grounder by Eugenio Suarez that shortstop Daniel Robertson bobbled.
It took five throws to nab Hamilton between home and third, with six Rays lined up ready to take part in the rundown. Smith dashed from the outfield and was stationed at third to take a throw and tag Hamilton.
Smith also singled twice, extending his hitting streak to 12 games for Tampa Bay. The string has taken place since he was recalled from Triple-A Durham on June 9 to replace Gold Glove center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, out with a broken right hip.
Trevor Plouffe homered for his new team and Taylor Featherston also connected for Tampa Bay. Steven Souza Jr. and Logan Morrison each drove in two runs.
The Rays also cost themselves on the bases. Plouffe and Taylor Featherston both were thrown out at third attempting to advance on hits, and Souza was picked off second.
Erasmo Ramirez (4-2), who was 0-2 with a 10.06 ERA over his previous four starts, held the Reds hitless until Scott Schebler launched his 20th home run leading off the fifth.
Schebler added an RBI single in the sixth. Cincinnati dropped the final two games of the series after winning the opener to stop a nine-game skid.
Chase Whitley entered with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, and worked out of the jam. He pitched the ninth to get his second save.
Plouffe was cut by Oakland last week. He hit a solo homer in a two-run fourth off Tim Adleman (4-4) that put Tampa Bay up 3-0.
RHP Homer Bailey (right elbow) could return to start Saturday at Washington.
Lego artist Nathan Sawaya threw the ceremonial first pitch with a baseball he made out of Legos.
RHP Luis Castillo will be called up from Double-A Pensacola to make his major league debut Friday night against Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg (8-2).