Can you believe it? Rays reach .500 once again

by Gary Shelton on July 1, 2018 · 2 comments

in general

Nuno pitched well in the Rays' victory./JEFFREY S. KING

Nuno pitched well in the Rays' victory./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 3 a.m.

In baseball, sometimes seeing is believing. And sometimes, you just want to rub your eyes.

For instance, did you see Adeiny Hechavarria make an error? Really. For the first time in 94 games and 319 chances, Hechavarria booted one in the sixth inning on a grounder by George Springer.

For instance, did you see the job that Vidal Nuno did in relief? He threw 4 2/3 innings, allowing just one earned run and four hits to get the win.

For instance, did you see Justin Verlander, the ace of the staff for the Houston Astros, treated rudely by the Rays. Verlander gave up five earned runs (nine hits) in five innings of work to take the loss.

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Hechavarria finally made an error for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Hechavarria finally made an error for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

For instance, did you see the Rays' line in the standings? They've climbed on top of the Yankees, Nationals and Astros to get to 41-41 as the season begins its second half.

Is it time to have your eyes checked? Can you believe the view?

The Rays won their seventh game of the last eight, beating the Astros and Verlander 5-2. Catcher Wilson Ramos had two hits to knock in four runs in

Ramos drove in four runs for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Ramos drove in four runs for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

the first two innings, and the Rays held on. Matt Duffy had three hits in the victory.

The Astros, one of the top offenses in baseball, have been held to 16 hits and five runs in the first three games of the series.

“I’m sure just having seen him helped," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said of Verlander. "For whatever reason, he didn’t have the best feel for his breaking ball early on. We got on some fastballs.

"Wilson Ramos came up huge. He laid off some breaking balls to get in the 3-1 count and it looked like he was trying to go down-and-away with a fastball and it leaked back over the plate and Wilson was ready for it, middle in. Really came up with two huge hits. That was the game for us offensively. We had to get on base, but Wilson did a really nice job of bringing them in.”

Cash couldn't believe his own eyes  on the Hechavarria error.

Duffy had three hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Duffy had three hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

"He’s the best I’ve ever seen," Cash said. "Close to 100 games. The error today was kind of shocking. You just wanted to hit the re-run button . 'Did that really just happen?' He'll probably tell you it was one of the easiest plays he’s had over the last 100 games.  Special, speciaI player. Special defender. He'll start another one (streak) tomorrow."

The Rays were bailed by Nuno, who had a 10.43 ERA last. year with Baltimore. With the Rays, Nuno is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA.

Tampa Bay scored three runs in the first and two in the second inning in the victory.

Romo got his seventh save of the season./JEFFREY S. KING

Romo got his seventh save of the season./JEFFREY S. KING

One of the hidden stars for the Rays was Joey Wendle, who had an outstanding catch in left.

"Really good," Cash said. "I hope Rocco (Baldelli) gets a lot of credit for all the work that he’s put in with him. That would be nothing new because Rocco gets a lot of credit when he’s in this building. Joey has worked hard. Rocco has worked hard with Robbie and Joey out there and you want to see progress like that. A day like today you have confidence to leave him out there. It could be different if it’s a one-run ballgame, but we have
a three-run lead and you value his bat in the lineup. He’s doing a lot of

 Kiermaier scored twice for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Kiermaier scored twice for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

things that’s providing confidence that he can go make plays.”

Said Wendle: “That was the most exciting play I’ve made as a leftfielder. Off the bat it looked like it was to the infield, but Rocco said pretend like every ball is to you and every ball is yours until it’s not. Just stayed on it and was able to scoop it up at the end.”

Reaching .500 again  is big for the Rays.

"It says a lot about this group," Wendle said. "I think it says a lot about our ability to beat good teams. We’ve done that for the last week and a half here. Hopefully we can get a series win tomorrow. It gives us a lot of confidence heading into the second half of the season. Get to .500 and hopefully we can continue this winning streak and minimize some of the losing streaks.”

The Rays try to win the series Sunday at 1:10 p.m. Blake Snell pitches against Charlie Morton in a game between 10-game winners.

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller July 1, 2018 at 6:41 am

All things considered this is one of those “are you kidding me” accomplishments. Nobody saw this run of beating really good teams coming. For now at least, it’s good to be a Ray.

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Gary Shelton July 1, 2018 at 9:19 am

Yep. I’m convinced that, at the end of the season, the will be the high-water mark. But that’s cool. Enjoy it while we can.

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