CHICAGO (AP) — Joe Maddon’s Tampa Bay reunion didn’t go quite the way he wanted.
Tim Beckham homered, and the Rays hung on to beat the Chicago Cubs 6-5 on Tuesday.
Beckham’s two-run drive highlighted a five-run fourth against Jon Lester (5-5). Alex Colome gave up two runs in the ninth, but the Rays won their first meeting against their former manager since he left for Chicago following the 2014 season.
Maddon chatted with Evan Longoria and some of his former staffers, such as pitching coach Jim Hickey and third base coach Tom Foley, as the Rays took batting practice.
“They’re a great bunch of guys,” Maddon said. “There’s a lot of humor on that side, and I got my giggles in.”
The Rays got the final word even though things got tense near the end. Colome threw 38 pitches in the ninth but came away with his 22nd save in 26 chances.
He gave up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Albert Almora Jr. and walked Jon Jay to put runners on first and second. After Kris Bryant popped out, Anthony Rizzo lined an RBI single to make it 6-4.
Ben Zobrist then bounced into a force to bring home another run. Ian Happ walked on a 3-2 pitch to put men on first and second, before Jason Heyward hit a fly to left.
“You’re going to have some games where a team comes back,” manager Kevin Cash said. “They’re a very good club and they believe they’re never out of game. They gave us every bit of it, but it was nice to see us come out on top.”
Chris Archer (7-5) picked up his third win in four starts, giving up three runs and eight hits in six innings. The former Cubs prospect also had an RBI single after a fake bunt for his first career hit.
Chicago lost for the fifth time in seven games on another frustrating afternoon. The defending World Series champions have hovered around .500 all season after winning it all for the first time since 1908 last fall.
“We haven’t gotten hot, we haven’t gotten going,” Lester said. “We do two, three, four games in a row and then it’s kind of like we go the other way for two, three, four games. I feel like it’s time to be paid up on that, you know? It’s time to get some guys hot. It’s time to get some guys on the mound that just go, just roll. We haven’t had that.”
Lester lasted five innings. He tied a season-high by allowing six runs and gave up nine hits — all but one on ground balls.
The Rays sent nine batters to the plate in the fourth to break a 1-1 tie.
Trevor Plouffe led off with a single and Beckham drove the next pitch to the center-field basket for his 11th homer.
Adeiny Hechavarria singled on a ball that Lester deflected with his glove and scored on a fake-bunt single with two strikes by Archer, hitless in his first 23 career at-bats. Souza’s sharp grounder then ricocheted off Lester’s glove, resulting in a two-run double that made it 6-1.
Archer was asked if he got the ball from his first hit, he said no. But he was planning to frame the bat.
“It was Alex Cobb’s bat, so that will always be a funny memory for the family,” Archer said.
The Cubs aren’t ruling out bringing back slugger Kyle Schwarber from the minors on this six-game homestand.
“I wouldn’t expect it to be too much longer,” director of player development Jaron Madison said. “But he still has some things to work out.”
Schwarber was batting .333 with four homers in nine games for Triple-A Iowa. After the two-game series against Tampa Bay, the Cubs host Milwaukee on Thursday and Pittsburgh in a weekend series before the All-Star break.
Rays: Cash wasn’t ready to head to the mound for pitching changes after breaking his left foot and spraining his left ankle in Baltimore on Sunday. “I hope to get to that point soon, but I’m not going to go out there now,” he said. “I think I’d get the commissioner calling me for pace of play.” Cash was injured Sunday when he stumbled on a railroad track while running through the streets of Baltimore and is on crutches.
Cubs: RF Heyward was activated from the 10-day DL after being sidelined since June 18 because of a laceration on his left hand.
The two-game series wraps up, with RHP John Lackey (5-9, 5.24 ERA) starting for Chicago and LHP Blake Snell (0-5, 5.36 ERA).