After prolonged slump, Bauers hits winning homer

by Gary Shelton on September 16, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Jake Bauers' three-run homer was the big blow for the Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

Sunday, 3 a.m.

His bats were receiving CARE packages. His average was bleeding. His RBI total was on oxygen.

Jake Bauers lifted a weight off his shoulders with the homer./STEVEN MUNCIE

Yeah, Jake Bauers was struggling, all right. It was getting to the point where you wanted to check to see if he was holding the proper end of the bat.

And then he swung.

And the world was right again.

Bauers hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning Saturday night, sending an 0-2 pitch by Jeurys Familia over the right field wall to break a 4-4 tie. The Rays went on to win 7-5 and clinch at least a .500 season with 15 games to go.

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Kiermaier slides past the tag to score./STEVEN MUNCIE

“(It felt) pretty damn good, excuse my language," Bauers said. "It’s been a long few months for me, so to contribute to a win like that and kind of let emotions out in a positive way feels pretty good.”

Bauers entered the game hitting just .189. Since the all-star break, he was hitting .134, the worst in the major leagues by 24 points. He was on streaks of 0-for-11, two-for-29 and four-for-65.

Lowe Celebrates after his two-run homer./STEVEN MUNCIE

“Just trying new stuff every day, that’s all you really can do," Bauers said. "To a certain extent sometimes I think we do too much and kind of dig yourself a deeper hole. But today, my thing was that Brandon Lowe gave me some applesauce. He swears by it. I have the proof right here [holds up apple sauce], and it’s empty. And (Andrew Velazquez) gave me a cookie, so you know, anything like that to kind of trick your mind and give yourself a little confidence.”

Bauers was hitting .252 at the all-star break, but went into a tailspin afterward.

“It was big," manager Kevin Cash said. "Jake has obviously been scuffling a bit

Chirinos went 5 1/3 innings for the Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

as of late. And he wears it on his sleeve, because he cares so much. But it was nice to see him come through.

 

"He gets down 0-2 from some electric stuff coming out of Familia, so for him to battle in there, get the count back and get a fastball that he could handle, and hit it out of the ballpark, that was huge. It really lifted up the dugout right there. We had some opportunities to not put the game away, but to shut them down, and we didn’t. We needed a big hit, and Jake provided it for us.”

Bauers had three hits on the day to bring his average up to .198. Kevin Kiermaier had two.

Romo got his 20th save of the season./STEVEN MUNCIE

"I think he’s handled it ok," Cash said. "It’s tough for any 22 or 23-year old who has come up and had some success  and then has gone into a rut. I would guess he’s never looked at the scoreboard and seen a .190-.195 batting average. In the long run, it's going to help him. The hits he does get are big hits. Today, he should sleep well."

Andrew Kittredge was the winning pitcher for the Rays, while Sergio Romo got his 20th save.

The Rays conclude their series with Oakland today. Diego Castillo will open for the Rays against Mike Fiers of the A's at 1:10 p.m.

Matt Duffy had a steal of second base./STEVEN MUNCIE

 

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