Rays’ bullpen locks down another victory

by Gary Shelton on August 26, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Dickerson went four-for-four to lead the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Dickerson went four-for-four to lead the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Saturday, 2 a.m.

They come at you all at once, daring you to find a weak spot.

One of them is good, two of them are better and, these days, five of them are pretty close to flawless.

They are the bullpen of the Tampa Bay Rays. And if the team had gathered them together earlier, would the Rays still be chasing a wild-card spot? Or might the league be chasing them?

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Hechavarria had three hits against the Cards./CARMEN MANDATO

Hechavarria had three hits against the Cards./CARMEN MANDATO

The Rays' bullpen pieced together 5 1/3 innings Friday night, allowing only two hits and zero runs in a 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Tampa Bay has now won four of five, and still hovers three games out of the second wild card slot.

“We expect to go in there and put up zeroes,” said reliever Steve Cishek. “We don't have room for error at this point of the season.”

Said first baseman Logan Morrison:  "If we had that bullpen at the start of the year we'd be in a different spot."

The bullpen, which was Tampa Bay's weak link at the start of the season, has been shored up with the acquisiton of Cishek, Dan Jennings and Sergio Romo. In their last 76 1/3 innings, the Rays' bullpen has a 2.01 ERA and a .178 batting average.

Tampa Bay had 16 hits in their win over the Cardinals, and won despite 14 strikeouts and going five-for-17 with runners in scoring position.

“We've been waiting for one of those days,” said manager Kevin Cash.

Souza homered in the Rays' third inning./CARMEN MANDATO

Souza homered in the Rays' third inning./CARMEN MANDATO

Steven Souza hit a home run in the four-run third inning for the Rays. Corey Dickerson had four hits, Adeiny Hechavarria had three. Souza, Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison had two hits, and Kevin Kiermaier had a two-run single in the ninth.

The Rays play their second game in the Cardinals' series today when Blake Snell goes for his third straight win. He pitches against Mike Leake in a 7:15 p.m. game.

Romo threw two shutout innings for Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Romo threw two shutout innings for Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

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