Newcomers lead Rays to another series victory

by Gary Shelton on June 22, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays catch Hamilton in a run down. Eventually, Mallex Smith got the putout./STEVEN MUNCIE

The Rays catch Hamilton in a run down. Eventually, Mallex Smith got the putout./STEVEN MUNCIE

Thursday, 2 a.m.

As recently as June 9, Taylor Featherston was a Philly.

Mallex Smith was a Durham Bull.

And Trevor Plouffe was an Oakland A.

Today? Today they are part of the new Murderer's Row of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Taylor and Trevor both went deep Wednesday to pace the Rays to an 8-3 series win over the Cincinnati Reds. Smith, meanwhile, had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 12 games for the Rays. Of its last 11 series, the Rays have now won seven and tied three with one loss.

The Rays struggled on the basepaths Wednesday, but they got enough big hits to overcome it.

 Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

Plouffe high fives with Montoyo on his way to home plate./STEVEN MUNCIE

Plouffe high fives with Montoyo on his way to home plate./STEVEN MUNCIE

Steven Souza had three hits to raise his average to .272. Smith, Featherston and Peter Bourjos all had two hits. The Rays had 14 hits even though captain Evan Longoria did not play.

“(Longoria) is a big part of our lineup,” Souza said. “So for a bunch of guys to step up in a win like that to secure the series was huge. I had to come through with my third AB after I made that dumb base-running mistake out there so I am glad I got to come through and pick up the pitchers.”

Erasmo Ramirez had his best start in a while for the Rays../STEVEN MUNCIE

Erasmo Ramirez had his best start in a while for the Rays../STEVEN MUNCIE

Souza's biggest hit was a run-scoring single in the sixth. It was followed by a two-RBI double by Logan Morrison.

“It was huge,” Souza said. “Stringing together hits like that will be key for us. We won’t always be able to hit the long ball and I think we’ve shown that we can hit the long ball in situations like that, but guys just passing the baton and getting knock after knock is good for our offense.”

Trevor Plouffe has two home runs in his last 18 at bats, following a 60 at-bat homerless drought. He's hit safely in all three games he's played for the Rays. Featherston has two home runs in the nine games he's played with the Rays.

Erasmo Ramirez had a strong start for the Rays after four shaky ones. He didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning.

“I feel proud of myself being able to keep the (Reds) without scoring in the first four innings,” Ramirez said. “It has been kind of tough for me with the opposite team the first few innings. Being able to do it today gave me more confidence pitching and executing the pitches. A lot of it was just us hitting. We always hit. Everything came out during the game. I executed pitches, the defense played good. Everything was working together today.”

Daniel Robertson goes past 3rd base./STEVEN MUNCIE

Daniel Robertson makes the turn at third base for the Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

Ramirez had had a 10.06 ERA over his previous four outings. He hasn't lost at Tropicana Field since last August. He went 5 2/3 innings and allowed only two hits.

Chase Whitley got the final four outs for his second save of the season.

“Good to win another series,” said manager Kevin Cash. “We overcame some mistakes, but we got some big hits, some timely hits. LoMo had a big hit. There was a long list. Obviously a long game and a lot of interesting stuff that took place, but at the end of the day, we found a way to win a ballgame, which is most important.

“Chase Whitley did a really nice job coming in there and calming things down. I thought Erasmo was good. We talked before the series about the walks to their nine-hitter and their one-hitter and trying to avoid those. We walked a couple guys and as Hick always says the inopportune walks seem to really put us in

Mallex Smith had two hits and extended his hitting streak./STEVEN MUNCIE

Mallex Smith had two hits and extended his hitting streak./STEVEN MUNCIE

some binds, but at the end of the day we win the series and go into the off day on a high note.”

One of the oddest plays of the day came when the Rays caught speedy Billy Hamilton in a rundown. Hamilton rounded third and headed for home on a play by shortstop Daniel Robertson, and Robertson got the out at home. Six Rays were involved in the play — which was scored 6-5-2-4-5-7, with leftfielder Smith making the putout.

“I told Smith that we needed him in there, because I wasn’t running down Billy, that’s for sure," Plouffe said. I was giving the ball up right away. You know, they always say one throw is the best rundown. I say get them out. That’s the best rundown. And we got him out. It was a good heads up play by D-Rob after missing the ball, to be aware and to know that he’s going home and to throw a strike to home. It was a good play.”

Plouffe said he has enjoyed contributing in his brief time with the Rays.

“It means a lot,” Plouffe said. “It’s a little bit different atmosphere. Coming from Oakland, we weren’t playing too well over there and the first day I got here, the first thing we talked about was winning series and how well the guys had been playing. Of course I want to contribute any way I can to wins. So far, so good. 1-0 in series, and I’ll take that. But I’m just trying to help. It could be defensively, offensively, anything like that. I’m just glad that we got the series win.”

The Rays are off today before hosting Baltimore for three games. Chris Archer pitches against Ubaldo Jimenez on Friday night.

Chase Whitley finished the game for the Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

Chase Whitley finished the game for the Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

 

Share with:Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: