Rays split series with Angels with close victory

by Gary Shelton on June 17, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Tommy Pham has ignited the Rays since coming over./CHUCK MULLER

Monday, 4 a.m.

They won at home.

They won by one run.

They actually had a pitcher get a save.

Whee.

The Rays defied a lot of trends Sunday afternoon in a 6-5 victory over Anaheim, a win that allowed them to split the series and win their second game of the last eight. The Rays are only 5-9 in one-run games. They’re only 20-18 at home.

Still, Tampa Bay won with two runs in the eighth, and then held on. Diego Castillo got his seventh save, and the first for the Rays since May 28. The Rays went 18 games between saves.

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Castillo gets the Rays’ first save since May./CHUCK MULLER

“It’s always good to get a win before you’re heading on a plane,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “We do have to do some things better, no doubt. The pitch counts got way too high. It seemed like we were 3-2 to everybody for about four innings. That’s not us. It was really encouraging to see the offense get some runs and then tack on

Ji-Man Choi has been solid at first./CHUCK MULLER

late. We needed every bit of it. We’ve got to get on this road trip and get off to a good start, because the way we played on this homestand was not ideal. We’ll certainly take this win today.

“We’re just not attacking guys like we’re capable of. I think every day
it’s been offense, defense – I don’t think there’s one part of our game that’s playing really well. We’re fortunate to come out with a win, split a series. You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the Angels. Their at-bats were really tough the entire series. They laid off tough pitches. They didn’t expand the zone and made us throw the ball in the zone. For whatever reason we had our issues doing that.”

Willie Adames relaxes by the dugout./CHUCK MULLER

Tommy Pham homered in the fifth to give the Rays a 4-3 lead, and a single by Yandy Diaz and a wild pitch provided insurance runs in the eighth.

Pham has reached base in 13 of his last 23 plate appearances over five games, including five RBI. The Rays are now 68-25 with him in the starting lineup since last August 1.

“Any win is a win,” Pham said. “An ugly win or a pretty win. I’m just happy we won. That’s all that matters. I think we need to clean some things up, but at the end of the day a win is a win. Me getting hurt, that really killed me because before that I was smoking the ball.”

Brandon Lowe hit his 15th homer./CHUCK MULLER

Kevin Kiermaier had a triple on his first Father’s Day game as a father.

“Winning is all I wanted today,” Kiermaier said. “I had to get up early, leave my family and get to the field. We have to go on a road trip so I don’t get to spend a whole lot of time, so I told my wife, ‘all I want today is a win.’ It was up to us to do that, she can take me out to dinner or something when we get back, but I didn’t want anything other than that. It felt good to barrel up a ball right there early and tie the game up again there in the second and then Avi with the quality at bat the next pitch. That was big, but you guys know anytime I hit the gap and I see the outfielders numbers chasing after that ball in the gap, I’m going three. That gets my

Avisail Garcia doubled on Sunday./CHUCK MULLER

blood pumping, that’s the biggest adrenaline rush for me and I just love putting my head down and sliding into third base. Hopefully see many more of that. I love hitting homers and all that but I love running and it’s just an exciting play for the fans, everyone, a huge momentum swing.”

For the Rays, Colin Poche went two innings for his first victory.

“I just trust my stuff,” Poche said. “So once I got up here I didn’t want that to change. I’m just going to go attack the hitters and try to make them commit to something early in the count because I feel like once they get to two strikes, the at-bat’s in my hands. The first win is special, especially on Father’s Day. I know my dad’s back home watching and is super proud of me. It’s a special moment.”

Cash was pleased with Poche.

Austin Meadows tripled on Sunday. / CHUCK MULLER

“For the pitching side, he was probably the highlight of the day,” Cash said. “He throws the fastball. Has a lot of life, lot of carry to it. Can do some good things at the top of the zone with it. The two innings he provided were huge and was efficient doing it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he feels pretty good tomorrow.”

Brandon Lowe hit his 15th homer in the first inning.

“You can never really be upset when you’re walking out with a W,” Lowe said. “Obviously, you would have wanted the homestand to have been a little better, but we finished on a high note. We’re playing good baseball right now and we’re looking to keep it rolling. Anytime someone hits a home run it’s pretty nice. It sparks the offense a little bit. It gets everyone’s energy going. That’s the way I look at it. We had a lot of good at-bats after that. If that led to it, that’s great. Just trying to be on base to have somebody behind me drive me in.”

The Rays now travel to New York to play for first place against the Yankees. Tonight’s game begins at 7:05 p.m. when Yonny Chirinos faces New York’s Masahiro Tanaka.

Rays LHP Colin Poche got his first win./CHUCK MULLER

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