Rays get 1,000th victory on Desmond Jennings’ walkoff homer

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Rookie outfielder Desmond Jennings entered his at-bat in the 10th inning Wednesday in a 4-for-38 slump that dropped his average from .354 to .298.  He promptly pounded the very first pitch he saw over the wall in left to give the Rays a 5-4 victory over the Rangers.

The Rays managed to take two out of three from Texas to keep their slim postseason hopes alive.  It was also the 1,000th victory opposite 1,245 losses in franchise history.

This was a game that Tampa Bay probably shouldn’t have won.  The Rangers had 12 hits to the Rays’ seven and three homers to the Rays’ two.  The walks were even at three apiece, and Rangers pitchers racked up 11 strikeouts to Tampa Bay’s eight.

The problem was that Texas left 11 men on base.  All three of the Rangers’ homers were solo shots.  Ian Kinsler had two of them, including a game-tying blast off Kyle Farnsworth in the top of the ninth.  Mike Napoli had four hits, but the only one that drove in a run was his solo homer.

The win makes the Rays’ 78-64, leaving them 7 1/2 games back of the Red Sox in the wild card pending Boston’s result tonight.  They’ll have a big chance to make up ground when they play the Red Sox this weekend.

The Rangers are three games up on the Angels in the AL West.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.