This time, Kiermaier allows the Rays to walk off

by Gary Shelton on August 24, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Kiermaier's grounder allowed the winning run to score./JFFREY S. KING

Kiermaier's grounder allowed the winning run to score./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 4 a.m.

When it comes to being the conquering hero, the Tampa Bay Rays like to spread their celebrations around a little.

For the fifth straight game, the Rays won Thursday night, sweeping the Kansas City Royals, 4-3. It was the Rays’ eighth walk-off victory of the season, and Kevin Kiermaier became the seventh Ray to bring in the winning run.

Okay, okay. There are more dramatic ways to win a game. Kiermaier grounded to first base with two out in the ninth. First baseman Ryan O’Hearn fielded the ball and threw home to catcher Salvador Perez. His throw was low, however, and Perez was unable to come up the ball. Jake Bauers scored the winning run.

Bauers celebrates scoring the winning run./JEFFREY S. KING

Bauers celebrates scoring the winning run./JEFFREY S. KING

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Gomez leaps to make the catch./JEFFREY S. KING

Gomez leaps to make the catch./JEFFREY S. KING

This year, Denard Span, Carlos Gomez, Matt Duffy, Bauers, Daniel Robertson (twice) and Willy Adames have brought home the winning runs in the Rays’ walk-offs.

The Rays are now a season-high six games over .500.

"I was just trying to put the ball in play at that point," Kiermaier said. "Earlier in the at-bat, I’m trying to lift the ball up in the air and hopefully do it on a sac fly. 3-2

Glasnow ran into trouble in the fifth./JEFFREY S. KING

Glasnow ran into trouble in the fifth./JEFFREY S. KING

count, just trying to put the ball in play and hit it right at the first baseman and thankfully, he didn’t make a great throw and it ended up working out for us. I was ready for that game to be done over with right then and there. Had a couple other opportunities during the game and a couple nice plays made on me. Frustrating through the first eight innings personally, but a win is a win and we will take it any way possible. We always say put the pressure on the defense. Any time you put the ball in play, you at least give yourself a chance. A win is a win and we will take as many of those as possible.”

Bauers had a good night with two hits and a walk. He had been 0-for-16 and 1-for-34 before his first hit against Kansas City.

Romo got the win for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Romo got the win for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

"I didn’t even know that’s what it was," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "That sounds like something I put up with those stats (as a player). There is really no concern about Jake whatsoever. It was good to see him get some hits. You want all these guys to get success, especially the young guys, but Jake is about as confident and as level-headed as any 22-year-old I’ve been around. So (I'm) not overly concerned.”

Bauers was glad to finally make a contribution.

“I don’t think you can put it into words," Bauers said. "I take all of this very seriously.I pride myself on contributing every night and being a good ballplayer. And when you feel like you are either not doing that or it’s not working out for you, it’s a lot of pressure and it’s a lot of frustration. (This) feels really good.”

Mallex Smith had another good night for the Rays, this time with three singles. It was the seventh time in the last eight games that Smith has had a multiple hit

Matt Duffy throws to first to get an our./JEFFREY S. KING

Matt Duffy throws to first to get an out./JEFFREY S. KING

night. Smith is now at .306 as he vies to become the first Ray to hit .300 since Casey Kotchman.

“He’s done a really nice job at the top up there," Cash said. "I think when we did it, it was a two-part thought. Mallex was swinging the bat really well at the bottom. Wanted to get him up at the top and Kevin Kiermaier wasn’t. Dropping him down and giving him a different look, I think going forward we will probably stay like that, but ultimately we need both of those guys to have a lot of offensive production no matter where they hit, but Mallex has been tremendous for us.”

For the Rays, Tyler Glasnow started and went five innings. He ran into trouble in the fifth with two hits and two walks before leaving.

Sergio Romo (3-3) got the win for the Rays.

“It was pretty good," Glasnow said of his outing. "I felt good, some innings better

Wendle has been solid defensively, too./JEFFREY S. KING

Wendle has been solid defensively, too./JEFFREY S. KING

than others. That last inning kind of got away from me a little bit. I wasn’t getting ahead of guys, and I kind of sacrificed some stuff there later in counts. But overall, I felt OK. I feel like I can build off this one and we got the win, so that’s all that matters."

The Rays swept their first four-game series since 2013.

"I think every single one of those games we were out on the field almost expecting to win," Bauers said. "You know you are in a good place as a team when the general consensus in the dugout is that, ‘hey, we just have to do what we have to do to win this game’ because I don’t want to say because we are supposed to, but we know we can and we know we should. Everyone did little jobs here and there and it all worked out four games in a row.”

The Rays open a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox tonight at 7:10 p.m.. Diego Castillo pitches for the Rays against Boston's Hector Velazquez.

Mallex Smith steals second for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Mallex Smith steals second for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

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