Stars come out in a lopsided Rays’ victory

by Gary Shelton on June 26, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

Kiermaier had a grand slam to open up the game./CARMEN MANDATO

Kiermaier had a grand slam to open up the game./CARMEN MANDATO

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Rays have won a lot of baseball games lately.

Rarely, however have they clobbered an opponent like this.

The Rays clobbered  a strong Washington Nationals team Monday night, winning an 11-0 game in a game that featured many stars.

There was, for instance:

— Blake Snell, who had a no-hitter going through the sixth inning and finished with his 10th win of the season. Snell struck out 10 in a commanding performance.

— Kevin Kiermaier gave the Rays a big lead early when he hit a grand slam in the second inning. It was Kiermaier’s second career grand slam and his first home run of the year.

— Wilson Ramos, the leading vote-getter for catcher on the American League All-Star team, hit two home runs.

— And rookie Jake Bauers, a day after his home run beat the New York Yankees, went four-for-five in the game.

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Snell won his 10th game on a one-hitter through seven./CARMEN MANDATO

Snell won his 10th game on a one-hitter through seven./CARMEN MANDATO

“These are the fun nights to be a part of,” Kiermaier said, “when you put a whooping on another team.”

The Rays are 6-2 in their last eight games.

“I think KK’s had to have stood out most because that was the separator," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "(Also) the way Wilson is seeing the ball. There were a lot. There were a lot of guys who sat there and were very very patient, which was nice to see. It’s easy to get overanxious when you get 2-0

Ramos hit two home runs for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Ramos hit two home runs for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

and get overaggressive and expand on a pitch, but we did not. It seemed like we were in a 3-1, 3-2 pitch for however many innings he threw. We just continued passing it to the next guy.”

Cash said that Snell had "no-hit stuff." However, he said "Kyle (the pitching coach) probably would have choked me if I had let him go beyond a certain point."

“You can watch the reaction of the guys’ swings," Cash said. "There were some breaking balls missed by quite a bit today. The fastball played really well. The curveball early on was a big pitch for him. Then he kind of
got in a rhythm there where he was just picking out of a hat what he wanted to do. I think it was all set up because early on, probably the 2nd inning he showed that he was able to get the fastball over the plate and stay around the zone with it.”

Bauers had four hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Bauers had four hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Snell was pleased with his effort.

“Fastball felt good," he said. "It all felt good, honestly. I’m very happy with the way we hit—I feel like that allowed me to get in a more aggressive mindset, which changed my pace, tempo, all of that. I just felt in a rhythm with Wilson [Ramos]... I think I shook him once today. He’s just been something special back there. The defense was good, the hitting continued, and that’s really how that game went for us.”

Snell said he wasn't thinking about the no-hitter.

“I saw it, but I didn’t put too much into it," Snell said. "I feel like when that happens you don’t really think about it until the 8th or 9th inning. I didn’t think about it too much, honestly.”

Cash said he thought Ramos deserves to be an all-star.

“I certainly hope so," Cash said. "He’s putting a really good showing. He had a great day today. He’s done a lot of good things here for us lately against

Willy Adames had a hit and an RBI./JAMES LUEDDE

Willy Adames had a hit and an RBI./JAMES LUEDDE

some really good pitching. It’s good that fans are recognizing that. It’s good that our fans are recognizing that. He’s very very deserving.”

Cash also hoped that the grand slam could get Kiermaier going again.

"You hope so," Cash said. "It’s a good thing he’s a veteran and he’s been through some struggles in the past. I know it’s not fun to walk up there and see ugly numbers. It’s going to take some time. He’s going to get back to swinging the bat and barreling up a lot of balls and I bet before we know it we’re going to be talking about how hot he’s gotten. In the meantime, his numbers are his numbers. Whatever he can contribute right now we are going to take. It’s good to have him back.”

Said Kiermaier: “I keep telling people this game is a funny game. I go on my rehab assignment and I was barreling up so many balls and ever since I’ve been back in the big leagues, that hasn’t been the case. Bases juiced right there I just wanted to put the ball in play and drive in a run whatever way I could.

"I was hoping to try and get under it where I could get a sac fly or a drive in the gap where I could run a little bit. My second grand slam felt great, but it felt good to barrel up a ball and take advantage of a pitch that I should hit. I worked myself to a 3-2 count so I was happy with that, happy with the result obviously. I’ve felt really good up there the past few days. Still a few things, I need to swing at a few more strikes and lay off a couple bad pitches."

The Rays play an afternoon game today at 12:10 p.m. Nathan Eovaldi will pitch against Max Scherzer.


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