Meadows leads the Rays to a victory over Toronto

by Gary Shelton on September 6, 2019 · 0 comments

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Meadows led the Rays’ to a victory./CHUCK MULLER

Friday, 4 a.m.

There are times you forget that he is only 24 years old. There are moments when you forget that he just got here.

Because when Austin Meadows has a bat in his hands, you might believe that he has been around forever.

Meadows. who had just 24 at bats as a Ray before this season, continued to shine in his first season as a regular Thursday night. He had two doubles and a home run in leading the Rays to a 6-4 victory over Toronto. The game was tied 4-4 when Meadows homered, and it was 5-4 when he doubled in an insurance run.

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Pruitt was strong for five innings./CHUCK MULLER

“I saw it well,” Meadows said of his go-ahead home run. “I faced him earlier this year. Then, we walked it off on a passed ball when Kevin (Kiermaier) scored. I saw a lot of curveballs from him, so I kind of knew it was coming and I was sitting on the pitch. Luckily, I was able to get it out and we were able to take the lead there.”

The Rays have now won seven of their last eight games. They’re 33-29 in games that have been decided by two runs or fewer, but they’ve won 17 of their last 23.

The Rays are now 24 games over .500, their most since the 2010 season.

“I’m just simplifying things,” Meadows said. “I’m going up there and trying to see the ball and hit the ball. That’s usually when you do your best, when you’re simplifying and don’t think too much up there. Things are going well right now.”

Austin Pruitt started the game for the Rays. He gave up only one earned run in five innings. Oliver Drake got the win for Tampa Bay, although he gave up a two-run homer to Bo Bichette (one of two homers hit by Bichette).

“I thought he (Pruitt) did a good job,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “He gave up the leadoff homer, settled in, made some pitches. Pitch count got a little high, but credit the Blue Jays hitters. Really did a good job for us.”

Said Pruitt of the positives of his outing: “A little bit of command. Working the slider off the heater. Me and (d’Arnaud) have been working really well together. We have been on the same page and (Kyle Snyder) will talk to me a little bit throughout the game of a game plan of who I’m facing that inning.”

Cash would like to see a little more ease in the Rays’ wins, however.

“We are finding a way,” Cash said. “We need to find a way to do things differently here. We can get some wins a different way. We will certainly appreciate and enjoy these tight ballgames.”

Said Meadows: “Grind them out. Teams have been playing us pretty tough lately, so we just try to go out there and piece things together and we’ve been really good lately with runners on base. The pitching has been really good. We just continue to grind and continue to get out there and win games because that’s the important thing right now.”

Outfielder Tommy Pham, who exited the game with a sore shoulder, stressed the importance of winning.

“We know every win counts,” Pham said. “We’re in a countdown right now. Every game matters and we need to win.”

Pham reached the 20 home run-20 steals plateau, the second Rays’ player (behind B.J. Upton) to get there.

“These guys are hitting 40 home runs now,” Pham said. “I need to figure out how to elevate the ball more consistently. This offseason I’m going to work on that, I have a plan. I’m contacting my hitting guys in L.A. and we’re going to work.”

The Rays play Torotno again tonight (7:10 p.m.) at Tropicana Field. Brendan McKay will pitch for the Rays against Clay Buchholtz.

 

 

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