Adames’ focus allows Rays to survive against Yanks

by Gary Shelton on July 24, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Adames turned disappointment into victory./JEFFREY S. KING

Adames turned disappointment into victory./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

You have heard about his bat. You have heard about his glove. You have heard about his future.

But when talking about rookie Willy Adames, don't forget to mention his presence of mind.

Take the late stages of Monday night's 7-6 victory over the New York Yankees, when the Rays were jugging chainsaws on a tightrope. The Rays were clinging to a one-run lead, but the Yankees had the bases loaded when Gary Sanchez hit a ground ball up the middle.

Second baseman Daniel Robertson, playing in a shift on the shortstop side of second, fielded the ball, but some reason, he tried to flip it  toAdames, who

The runner is safe at first, but Adames threw to first for the force./JEFFREY S. KING

The runner is safe, but Adames threw to first for the force./JEFFREY S. KING

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Bauers reacts to a first-inning double./JEFFREY S. KING

Bauers reacts to a first-inning double./JEFFREY S. KING

was playing even deeper in the hole than Robertson. Adames touched second, but only after Giancarlo Stanton arrived at the bag. The Yankees, it seemed, had tied the game.

Adames, however, retained his focus, and he continued the play, ignoring Stanton at his feet and throwing to first baseman Jake Bauers for the final out of the game. (The force at first kept the run from scoring).

Robertson hit his second homer in two days./JEFFREY S. KING

Robertson hit his second homer in two days./JEFFREY S. KING

Bingo. Rays win.

"That's an extremely heads-up play," said Bauers. "That’s how you win games with plays like that. He’s a guy who is going to make plays like that.

"It says a lot. It comes from from what we went through in the minor leagues, playing in high-stress situations in championship games and playoff games. That’s where you learn stuff like that. You don’t learn that in game 70 of 140 in the middle of June. You learn it in September when you're playing for the championship."

Adames said the play was just part of his game.

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

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

“I was just running to the base in case he (Robertson) was flipping me the ball," Adames said. "He did flip it me. I was kind of like in shock when he passed me the ball. The umpire went 'safe’ really loud and I looked at first. (Yankees catcher) Gary (Sanchez)was like halfway. I just like threw the ball."

Said Cash: "Believe it or not, we've practiced that play. I don't think we've practiced it to the point where the guy going from first to second is going to be safe, but we do practice the play. It was really just a head's-up on Willy's part. Obviously, there was a miscommunication there between Robbie and Willy, but Willy's arm strength and wherewithal to know to get rid  of the baseball when we had a chance to get (Sanchez) at first base.  It was a huge play. Didn't see that one happening."

Andries threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the win./JEFFREY S. KING

Andriese threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the win./JEFFREY S. KING

Even before the final play, the Rays struggled to win this one. They took a 1-0 lead, and immediately gave up the tie. They took a 4-1 lead on Bauers' three-run homer, and immediately gave two of them back. They went up 7-3, but gave three of the runs right back.

"We have young pitchers who are learning their way at the big leagues, and that's a good thing," Cash said. "Hopefully, they can respond and learn you don't walk good teams. You are going to pay and we paid."

This time, however, the Rays' offense bailed out the team. Tampa Bay scored seven runs on major league win leader Luis Severino, getting a career high 11 hits against him. Severino had given up only eight hits in his previous two starts combined against the Rays.

Smith dances at second after double./JEFFREY S. KING

Smith dances at second after double./JEFFREY S. KING

"I think the story of the game is we scored seven runs in a Luis Severino start. When you do that, you should win. We put ourselves in some bad spots."

The Rays used seven pitchers. Matt Andriese (3-4) got the win, and Jose Alvarado got his fourth save.

Bauers had a particularly good night, getting a double and the three-run homer and scoring from second base on a passed ball by Sanchez.

For the Rays, Daniel Robertson had three hits, including his second homer un two days. Ji-Man Choi also had three hits.

Giancarlo Stanton was four-for-four with a walk for the Yankees.

Alvarado got his fourth save for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Alvarado got his fourth save for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Adames is enjoying the impact that he and Bauers are making, and he anticipates more minor leaguers joining them.

"Every time I  see Jake being successful, it’s special," Adames said. "We’ve been through the whole minor leagues together. I feel it’s special.

“I think (the future) is going to be fun. It’s going to be a bright future for the Rays."

The Rays have now won four in a row over the Yankees and are 51-49 on the season. Yonny Chirinos will pitch tonight against Masahiro Tanaka (7-2) of the Yankees in a game that begins at 7:10 p.m. at the Trop.

Hunter Wood got the start for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Hunter Wood got the start for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

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