ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Desmond Jennings redeemed himself for an early defensive miscue with a game-winning hit in the 12th inning.
Jennings’ RBI single gave Tampa Bay a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers and the Rays took over the top spot in the AL wild-card race.
“You know what? I want to believe this game has to give us some kind of impetus moving forward,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Texas has a half-game lead over Cleveland, which lost at Kansas City, for the second wild card. The Rangers, who snapped a seven-game losing streak on Tuesday, are 3-13 in September.
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Jose Lobaton opened the 12th with a single off Joseph Ortiz (2-2), and pinch-runner Sam Fuld went to second on Yunel Escobar’s bunt. Fuld then scored on Jennings’ hit to right-center.
Leonys Martin put Texas up 2-0 with a two-run triple off Chris Archer in the second. Jennings misread the drive in center, first moving in and then couldn’t get back in time as the ball went over his head.
Brandon Gomes (2-1) struck out Ian Kinsler with runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the 12th for the Rays.
“You talk about the total team victory right there, how about it?” Maddon said. “All kinds of crazy little nuances in the game. That’s why the game is so beautiful. It’s even more beautiful when you win a game like that.”
• Suspended slugger Ryan Braun visited the Milwaukee Brewers for the first time since telling teammates in July that he accepted a 65-game ban as a result of baseball’s investigation into a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Braun had wanted to visit teammates for a while but didn’t want to be a distraction.