Rays pitchers throw second straight shutout

by Gary Shelton on August 21, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

Yarbrough picked up his 12th win of the season./JEFFREY S. KING

Yarbrough picked up his 12th win of the season./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

As victories go, it didn't feel as if it was from the future. But maybe it was.

It involved a bit of technology -- a replay call that was reversed in favor of the Tampa Bay Rays.

It involved a bit of outside-the-box thinking -- another "bullpen" day that held up in a 1-0 victory over Kansas City. It was the Rays' second straight shutout (after a 2-0 win against Boston), and it left the team with a 23-inning scoreless streak. Only nine times in 20 years have the Rays won back-to-back shutouts.

For the Rays, Hunter Wood, Ryan Yarbrough, Ryne Stanek and Jose Alvarado combined for the shutout. If you're counting, the Rays have used nine pitchers in their two shutouts.

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Adams, shown bunting, knocked in the game's only run./JEFFREY S. KING

Adames, shown bunting, knocked in the game's only run./JEFFREY S. KING

The Rays' only run came in the second inning. Willy Adames was out on a grounder to third, but the Rays challenged the call and it was reversed. Adames was safe, and Joey Wendle scored.

“Sometimes you have to win 1-0," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "The guys did a really nice job pitching, making big plays behind them. No margin of error, but just an outstanding effort by basically everyone who came out of the bullpen tonight. (Ryan) Yarbrough) led the way with how efficient he was and how

Kiermaier maKes a break for second./JEFFREY S. KING

Kiermaier makes a break for second./JEFFREY S. KING

he controlled the count for the most part. It’s nice to see him get on a more positive run because he had a blip there for a couple outings, but he’s putting together a really impressive first season in the big leagues."

Yarbrough, who threw 5 1/3 innings of two-hit baseball, won his 12th game of the season. He retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced.

“I thought the cutter, cutter-slider was really good," Cash said. "I thought his fastball was good. Yanked a couple here and there, but he made some nice adjustments and not a lot of balls hit hard. A lot of off the end and a lot of weak ground balls. He had really good stuff.”

In 26 relief appearances, Yarbrough is 10-3 with a 3.47 ERA.

So what was different for him?

Alvarado took the save for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Alvarado took the save for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

"Attacking the strike zone and picking up my tempo a little bit," Yarbrough said. "Getting on the mound as fast as I can. Trying to get ahead and trying to keep it simple and go from there. I’ve had some success with it.”

Yarbrough admitted that pitchers feed off of each other.

“No, I don’t think that’s cliche," Yarbrough said. "You see a guy do really well. We are all competitive by nature or we wouldn’t be here. We really want to go out there and do the same thing, if not better. I think that a little friendly competition in the clubhouse never hurts.”

For the Rays' Kevin Kiermaier had a three-hit night, only his second of the season.

“Other than the run, that was the bright spot offensively for us," Cash said. "We have to get him going. There’s a lot of time left that he can really impact us positively and today was a good day. He hit a couple balls the other way. When you

Duffy makes a play at third for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Duffy makes a play at third for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

get to where he’s been here the last couple of weeks, hits feel good and he needs to get some hits. That’s going to get his confidence going a little bit and I think we will see him catch fire.”

Kiermaier is hitting just .189 on the season, but at least it's headed upward. Kiermaier was impressed with his team's pitching.

“They’ve been attacking guys," Kiermaier said. "They’ve been attacking, executing pitches in huge counts. For example, (Jose) Alvarado throws a 2-0 breaking ball and (Rosell) Herrera swung right through it. He’s not a big power guy, but a pitch like that is huge because if that guy doesn’t swing or it bounces and goes 3-0. Who knows right there. He comes back with a 2-1 curveball that he swung right through again. I like Alvarado’s chances there with an even count and he ended up sealing the victory.

"That’s one small example, but these guys, whether it’s the opener, starter, closer, long-relief guy, these guys have been going right at hitters. With the Red Sox, who

Smith dives back to first on an attempted pickoff./JEFFREY S. KING

Smith dives back to first on an attempted pickoff./JEFFREY S. KING

we just previously played, that’s an offense that might give a lot of pitchers nightmares, but these guys have been sticking to their plan, executing big pitches in big moments and tonight was another example of that innings 1-through-9. It’s fun to play behind. I feel like we are staying out there for 4-5 minutes an inning, even though that might be a little exaggerated. It makes our lives a lot easier out there when you have that good tempo throughout the game. That helps your defense so much so I hope they keep it going. It makes life a lot easier for us out there.”

Adames said he thought he was safe before the replay reversal.

“Yeah, as soon as I hit I was running hard because I knew I had a chance to get there safe," Adames said.

Mallex Smith also had two hits for the Rays.

Tampa Bay, 64-61 for the season, plays Kansas City again tonight at 7:10 p.m. Blake Snell goes for his 15th victory for the Rays, while Glenn Sparkman pitches for Kansas City.

Wendle fields a ground ball up the middle./JEFFREY S. KING

Wendle fields a ground ball up the middle./JEFFREY S. KING

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