Rays win as they watch Pruitt do it to Orioles

by Gary Shelton on May 28, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

Christian Arroyo dives but can't make the play./STEVEN MUNCIE

Christian Arroyo dives but can't make the play./STEVEN MUNCIE

Monday, 4 a.m.

Over the course of a season, a man can rediscover himself.

Christian Arroyo gives the thumbs up after getting to second./STEVEN MUNCIE

Christian Arroyo gives the thumbs up after getting to second./STEVEN MUNCIE

He can be lost, and suddenly, he is found. He can be wobbly, and suddenly, he is steady. He can scattered, and suddenly, he is stable.

And so goes Austin Pruitt, the long relief pitcher of the Tampa Bay Rays, who suddenly seems to be rolling again.

Pruitt came on to steady the Rays Sunday afternoon, pitching 5 2/3 innings of three-hit, shutout baseball to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over Baltimore. This time, the Rays' blueprint of starting a short reliever (Sergio Romo) didn't work out, as Romo got only one out and gave up three earned runs.

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Carlos Gomez celebrates his home run./STEVEN MUNCIE

Carlos Gomez celebrates his home run./STEVEN MUNCIE

But after Romo, the Rays' pitching was solid, throwing 8 2/3 inning of shutout baseball. The Rays are now 25-26 on the season.

“(Pruitt was) really impressive," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "That’s two outings in a row. He gave up the homer to Rafael Devers and other than that, he was flawless. Today he was outstanding. Forcing contact, controlling the count. He got a lot of ground balls and allowed our defense to make plays behind him.

Mallex Smith reacts after a throwing error./STEVEN MUNCIE

Mallex Smith reacts after a throwing error./STEVEN MUNCIE

He started working on his curveball a little bit more, which was nice. That will help him to get deeper with his pitch count, adding that fourth dimension, that fourth pitch to it. Really good performance for his part.”

Pruitt struck out five in his effort.

“I think overall I was pretty solid," Pruitt said. "I had a lot of fun out there and that’s what matters. Everything (was working). I was throwing all my pitches. My fastball was good. I was hitting my spots. (Wilson) Ramos and I were on the same page and there were a lot of good plays out there.”

The Rays surrendered three runs in the first, but they came back with six of their own in the third.

“It was needed, especially the way the game started," Cash said. "I don’t think

Brad Miller after his home run./STEVEN MUNCIE

Brad Miller after his home run./STEVEN MUNCIE

anybody was in too good of a mood after the first inning. We didn’t match up the way we wanted to. We walked a couple guys that we didn’t want to and we got down behind 3-0. Kevin Gausman has done a tremendous job against us in the past, not only this year but in past years of really quieting our bats. A lot of credit to the guys to find a way to not only tie it, but ultimately take the lead and not give it up after that.”

Brad Miller had a homer and a two-run double for the Rays. Christian Arroyo and Wilson Ramos had two hits, and Carlos Gomez hit a solo home run.

"Carlos, we talk about the energy all the time," Cash said. "He hit the home run.

Rob Refsnyder makes the catch for Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

Rob Refsnyder makes the catch for Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

He had some pretty good at-bats today too. There were a couple hard foul balls where he was on time. I know (hitting coach) Chad (Mottola) and him have worked really hard getting him on time, staying on time. I think that’s a sign in the right direction. Generally you see the singles or line drives come before the home runs, but we’ll take whatever if that’s going to get him hot, we’ll take it.”

Arroyo is now hitting .412 in his brief time with the Rays.

“Trying to stay with my approach," he said. "I’ve been working on some stuff with Chad (Mottola) in the cage. The last couple days I haven’t been starting. Trying to get out there, get as much work as I can, prepare like I am starting and put that into play whenever I’m in there getting live at-bats. Staying with what I’ve been working on and not trying to do too much.”

Arroyo understands why he isn't playing every day.

Wilson Ramos gets the out in Rays' win/STEVEN MUNCIE

Wilson Ramos gets the out in Rays' win/STEVEN MUNCIE

“It’s part of the game," Arroyo said. "Our guys are playing really well right now. We are playing good baseball as a team so it’s tough to mess with the lineup, especially when you’re winning. Guys are hitting. That’s part of the game. For me, I try and prepare everyday like I am starting. A lot of fastball machine. Trying to see velocity still so that way so when I get in there, 95 mph isn’t looking like 115 mph.”

Miller liked the way the Rays chipped away at Baltimore's lead.

“I think we got ourselves in a little hole there, but we chipped away at it, and a big 3rd inning for us," Miller said. "I thought Arroyo and Ref at the bottom got us going. Arroyo had two great at-bats in that one inning. We kind of exploded there and Pruitt and Nuno shut it down the rest of the way.”

The Rays now go the west coast. They play a 4:05 game in Oakland today agains the A's. Tampa Bay will start Chris Archer against Trevor Cahill.

Pruitt had a solid outing to get his first save./STEVE MUNCIE

Pruitt had a solid outing to get his first save./STEVEN MUNCIE

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