TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Isaac Paredes hit a solo homer in the eighth inning and a two-run single with two outs in the ninth, sending the Tampa Bay Rays to a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
Ji-Man Choi and Vidal Bruján reached on two-out walks before Jonathan Aranda’s pinch-hit single loaded the bases against David Bednar (3-2). Paredes then hit an opposite-field liner to right for his game-ending single.
“Very happy,” Paredes said through a translator. “I was very confident going into that at-bat.”
Paredes’ teammate celebrated by dumping two containers of sports drink and then a bucket of ice on him in front of the Rays dugout after his hit on an 0-2 pitch.
“He’s fun to watch,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Certainly picked us up in a big way.”
Pirates manager Derek Shelton said Bednar “just didn’t execute pitches.”
“He ended up having two walks and that’s very uncharacteristic of him,” Shelton said. “We were one pitch away multiple times in that inning and were not able to finish it.”
Paredes got the Rays within one in the eighth with his team-leading 10th homer — all over his last 25 games. He has gone deep five times in his last three games.
Ralph Garza Jr. (1-2) worked two scoreless innings for the win in Tampa Bay’s fourth straight one-run game. It also was a Rays-record 11th consecutive game decided by two or fewer runs.
Jack Suwinski hit a three-run homer for the Pirates. JT Brubaker allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings.
Jalen Beeks replaced Tampa Bay’s Corey Kluber with one out in the sixth. The lefty walked Daniel Vogelbach and allowed Bligh Madris’ single that struck an overhanging catwalk before Suwinski connected for his 12th homer.
Suwinski also made a nifty catch along the…