Kiermaier’s homer leads Rays to third straight win

by Gary Shelton on July 2, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Kiermaier’s three run homer lifted to Rays to a win./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 3 a.m.

Do you recognize them? Is there something familiar about their stride? Is there something you remember in their swagger?

Hey, it’s the good Tampa Bay Rays.

And where have you guys been lately?

The Rays have won three straight games for the first time since June 5-8. Their latest victory was Monday night’s 6-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays are now 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East race.

“We pieced it together, obviously,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “The bats

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Kolarek got his third win for Tampa Bay./JEFFREY S. KING

came out and had some really good at-bats in the first off their pitcher. Give the guy credit for settling in and keeping us off balance just enough. Kind of a frustrating inning where they took the lead, obviously. Then (Kevin) Kiermaier comes up and comes up with the big home run.”

The Rays had fallen behind 3-2 when Kiermaier hit his 10th homer of the season. The Rays now have seven players with 10 homers or more.

“That was about as a good as I can hit one to center,” KIermaier said. “I was kind of unhappy to have the lead taken away from us so playing with an attitude from that point on. I always do somewhat throughout the whole game, but right there I was hoping to get a good pitch and I wanted to be on time and I didn’t want to miss it. I wanted to at least drive in one run there with Ji-Man on second (base).

“Fortunately I got a good pitch to hit and back-spinned it well. That’s all I got to center. It felt good to put us up two [runs] right there. I was a man on a mission with attitude. That felt really good. We needed to win tonight, first and foremost. That’s why I did what I did afterwards. I knew I got it. Felt good to put the team up right there. A lot of emotions going on throughout that whole game and right there, I was happy, but I was pissed off rounding the bases too because I feel like that was kind of the story of our season right there – we need to keep the lead. They had good at-bats, but to put the team up there by two (runs) again felt great and the rest is history.”

The Rays have enjoyed their winning streak.

“We are headed towards the right direction, for sure, but at the same time, we aren’t content with anything we are doing,” Kiermaier said. “We still can play a lot better baseball. It hasn’t been very sound. We need to get back to the fundamentals of doing the little things right. That’s the way our team is composed. We need to do a better job of that. We hold a certain standard for us. I’m not sitting here trying to bash anyone – we are our toughest critics on each other because we all expect certain things out of certain guys. We are capable of playing much better baseball. All we can do is move forward with that though. We have six games left for the first half and we want to hold our heads high heading into the break. Definitely get clicking on all cylinders within the week and feel good about ourselves, get our rest and come back ready to do some damage again. Right now it’s about taking it one game at a time.”

Ryan Yarbrough threw with limited rest, but he still got through three innings and gave up only one run.

“He’s done it before,” Cash said. “I thought he was probably not as sharp in strike- throwing. He was kind of fighting himself a little bit. Saying that, he gives up one run. So you’ve got to be happy with the performance.”

The Rays play against the Orioles again tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Charlie Morton will pitch for the Rays against a pitcher to be named later.

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