Rays’ offense puts it together against Twins

by Gary Shelton on September 5, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Souza safe at home, but the collision left his back sore./CARMEN MANDATO

Souza safe at home, but the collision left his back sore./CARMEN MANDATO

Tuesday, 3 a.m.

There is nothing more powerful than the home run. There is no statement as strong.

It is a singular act of superiority, of muscle, of dominance. It changes the scoreboard more quickly than anything else. It is an elephant stomping on a mouse.

Ah, but it is not as complete a victory as the big inning. There is a harmony when a team pieces together an outburst, like an orchestra swelling in volume. It is artistry at its best, the fruits of an entire team soaring, beating its opponent with a thousand cuts. It is a mongoose evading a cobra.

Monday night, in an 11-4 win over Minnesota, the Rays had both.

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Kiermaier races back to third in the third./CARMEN MANDATO

Kiermaier races back to third in the third./CARMEN MANDATO

Twice, the Rays scored on home runs (Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison). And twice, they put together four-run at-bats without the benefit of the long ball. It was the first time since June 23 (74 days) that the Rays had scored that many without benefit of the long ball. Then they did it again.

And truly, both of their four-run innings were something to see. In the sixth, it was a hit by Morrison followed by walk by Steven Souza Jr. followed b a double by Dickerson.

Cobb allowed only three hits in 5 2/3 innings/CARMEN MANDATO

Cobb allowed only three hits in 5 2/3 innings/CARMEN MANDATO

After a strikeout, it was an intentional walk to Brad Miller followed by a sacrifice fly by Adeiny Hechavarria followed by a single by Kevin Kiermaier.

The Rays liked the feeling. In the eighth, Wilson Ramos singled and Miller walked and Hechevarria walked and Trevor Plouffe singled. Longoria singled. Morrison singled. It was small ball at its finest.

“We normally don't do that,” Cash said. “We'll take them how we can get them. There's generally a walk in there. An extra base in there. And then the big hit. We've got to find ways to score runs other than just the home run.”

Longoria drove in three runs Monday night./CARMEN MANDATO

Longoria drove in three runs Monday night./CARMEN MANDATO

For games on end, it seemed the Rays would leave men in scoring position. Not Monday night. Evan Longoria (two hits) drove in three runs. Kiermaier (three hits) drove in two. Dickerson (three hits) drove in two.

It was a nice hit-fest for the Rays. Meanwhile, the team got a nice effort from starting pitcher Alex Cobb, who gave up three hits and one earned run in getting his 10th win of the season.

“It's probably some of the best baseball we've played in a while,” Cobb said. “It's real big when you come into these big series to set the tone earl and show we're ready for the match and we're not on our heels.

“We know we have our work cut out for us. It's pretty obvious. We've done this to ourselves, but we've talked about it before. We've gone through a lot of .500 ball and we've gone through a tough losing streak. The only thing left for us is to hit that winning streak that we desperately need right now.”

The energy seemed to flow through the clubhouse Monday.

Dickerson had three hits for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Dickerson had three hits for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

“We dug our own grave and we have to sleep in it,” Souza said. “We have to win games.”

Kiermaier has been hot since returning from the disabled list. He's hitting .379 with 15 runs scored, five doubles and 12 RBI.

“It makes you feel so much more dangerous when everyone is swinging the bat and finding the barrel,” Kiermaier said. “You aren't depending on just one, two or three guys. It doesn't matter who is hitting, it's just another whole element. It shows you how dangerous we an be when all guns are clicking on all cylinders.”

The rest of the season, the Rays will play every game against a team within 1 1/2 games of the wild-card race.

The Rays try to make it two in a row tonight when Jake Odorizzi pitches against Bartolo Colon at 7:10 p.m. at the Trop.

 

Morrison hit his 36th homer of the season./CARMEN MANDATO

Morrison hit his 36th homer of the season./CARMEN MANDATO

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