Gomez powers Rays to completing sweep of Twins

by Gary Shelton on April 23, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Gomez reacts to his game-winning homer./CARMEN MANDATO

Gomez reacts to his game-winning homer./CARMEN MANDATO

Monday, 2 a.m.

Gomez had been off to a slow start this season./CARMEN MANDATO

Gomez had been off to a slow start this season./CARMEN MANDATO

Except for the drama of the moment, the fly ball was ordinary enough.

It sailed, high and far, its  flight path taking it to center field and providing the suddenly hot Tampa Bay Rays with an 8-6 win.

And then the fun began.

There was never a doubt that the blast by Gomez was over the fence. So he turned to his dugout, and he lift his arms in triumph. He tugged on the brim on his batting helmet, and he stuck his tongue out as far as it would go.

Gomez points skyward after his winning homer./CARMEN MANDATO

Gomez points skyward after his winning homer./CARMEN MANDATO

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

Hechavarria hit a three-run homer to give the Rays a 6-3 lead./CARMEN MANDATO

Hechavarria hit a three-run homer to give the Rays a 6-3 lead./CARMEN MANDATO

He was a one-man Gasparilla. He began his jog around the bases backward for a couple of steps, and then he  turned and ran. He tapped the back of his helmet. He clapped. He pointed to the sky. He danced --a weird, electric boogaloo that carried him onto the infield grass and then into foul territory, all shoulders and knees and hips. Yeah, he thinks he can dance.

Finally, he crossed the plate, with water dousing him and teammates pounding his back. He high-fived a dozen times, all of them vicious, hard slaps. He whooped. He grinned until you thought his face might break.

Crom embraces Sucre after his two-run homer./CARMEN MANDATO

Crom embraces Sucre after his two-run homer./CARMEN MANDATO

It was Tampa Bay’s first look at the Go-Go Show, and yeah, it was a bit of fun.

"I never hit a walk-off home run," Gomez said. "Not even a (walk-off) single, walk, a hit by pitch – nothing. And for the first time, I'm the right guy. I'm really happy to get this home run and keep myself going."

Gomez, so frustrated at one point in the game that he broke his bat over his left leg, sent the Rays home with a series sweep of the Minnesota Twins Sunday afternoon. He has played this game for 12 years as a major leaguer, and he has hit 136 homers and driven in 510 runs. But none of them were like this. It was his first game-winner.

I don't know where the ball is," Gomez said, "but I know it's going deep."

Daniel Robertson had a double and three singles./CARMEN MANDATO

Daniel Robertson had a double and three singles./CARMEN MANDATO

He has a good smile, Gomez, but the Rays haven't seen enough of it. He's hitting only .158. He entered the game in a 2-for-34 slump.

"He (Gomez) is going through some funks before where he hasn’t hit the ball the way he’s wanted to," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "He’s probably snapped bats before. That’s part of who he is …  that’s what makes him good.What’s impressive is that he’s able to rebound from that and not let it consume him."

Said Gomez: “The first three at bats, I never lost my concentration. I told myself: they’re going to get me something to hit. Throw me something in play and i’m going to hit it out"

These days, however, everyone hits for the Rays. Sunday, they had 14 hits and three  home runs. Consider: In their first eight games of the year, the Rays didn't have

Yonny Chirinos started for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Yonny Chirinos started for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

more than eight hits in a game. In eight of their last 12, they've had double-digit hits.

Consider: The Rays took a 2-0 lead on C.J. Cron's two-run homer. They went ahead 6-3 on Adeiny Hechavarria's three-run homer. And they won the game on Gomez' two-run shot.

Also, Daniel Robertson had four hits. Jesus Sucre had three and Cron and Joey Wendle had two.

The Rays started the season 1-8; they're now up to 8-13.

Colome looked sharp in gaining get win./CARMEN MANDATO

Colome looked sharp in gaining the win./CARMEN MANDATO

Gomez said he dedicated his home run to his 9-year-old son Yandel.

"He had a really good game yesterday playing soccer and they won the game because of the goal he scored to win the game," Gomez said. "I told him it was my turn today. I'm going to try to hit a homer for you. I did it and I know he's going to be really happy."

For the Rays, there was a also a nice omen. Reliever Alex Colome, who has struggled much of this year, struck out the side in the ninth to get the win.

On the other hand, Sergio Romo’s tough weekend continued. He gave up atwo-run single to tie the game.

It was another bit of fun by a team that didn't seem to have much to give. In spite of the dreadful start, the Rays have been interesting to watch. At least, they have been when they have faced the non-powers of the league.

The Rays have today off, then open play in Baltimore agains the Orioles. Jake Faria of the Rays pitches against former Ray Alex Cobb.

Denard Span blows a bubble in Rays' win./CARMEN MANDATO

Denard Span blows a bubble in Rays' win./CARMEN MANDATO

Share with:Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller April 23, 2018 at 5:59 am

Clearly the Rays are in the wrong division. How much better would this team be if they could play the Twins and White Sox 19 times a year instead of the Red Sox and Yankees?

Reply

Gary Shelton April 23, 2018 at 8:17 am

Or, really, anyone. They would be be much better. That’s true most years, isn’t it?

The team can’t keep up with the arms of the Red Sox or the bats of the Yankees. You almost want to figure out the standings against everyone else.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: