Bautista turns back the clock in slamming Rays

by Gary Shelton on July 7, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

Adames hat a homer and an error./CAMREN MANDATO

Adames had a homer and an error./CAMREN MANDATO

Saturday, 3 a.m.

In twilight, you might think there isn't much to fear from Jose Bautista anymore.

He is 37 now, and his skill set is dwindling. Too many nights, he looks like an aged version of himself as he finishes out the string.

Then comes a night such as Friday night.

And once again, Bautista shows he still has a little thunder in his bat.

Bautista hit a first-pitch grand slam off of Chaz Roe Saturday night, leading the New York Mets to a 5-1 victory over the up-again-down again Rays, whose path through the season seems to be made of good streaks and bad ones.

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Roe gave up a grand slam to Bautista./CARMEN MANDATO

Roe gave up a grand slam to Bautista./JEFFREY S. KING

It was the third loss in four games for the Rays. In those three games, the Rays have scored just three runs and managed just 15 hits.

Much of the reason for the silent bats was Mets' starter Jacob deGrom, who allowed only four hits to the Rays. Tampa Bay did get a single run on a home run by Willy Adames, but not much else.

Stanek started for the 10th time and gave up one hit over two innings./JEFFREY S. KING

Stanek started for the 10th time and gave up one hit over two innings./JEFFREY S. KING

“It was well-pitched by both teams," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "We went about it a little differently than they did. They had deGrom, who was a one-man show. We used a bunch of bullpen guys but got similar results.

"We couldn’t get anything going against him. I think the league has proven that over the last couple of years. He’s pretty talented. He’s pretty special. We couldn’t find a way to score. We had an opportunity there in the ninth and we just didn’t make it happen."

The Rays did manage to load the bases with one out in the ninth off of reliever Jeurys Familia, but Mallex Smith was retired on a force play where the Mets forced pinch-runner Hunter Wood at the plate. Adames then struck out to end the threat.

Chaz Roe was the sixth Rays' pitcher, and he immediately got into trouble with a leadoff walk to Todd Frazier and a single to Devin Mesoraco. After a sacrifice, a groundout and an intentional walk, Bautista hit the first regular-season walkoff of his career.

Bautista, a six-time all-star, has slowed since his 35-homer, .286 season of 2014. His average has dwindled to .250, .234, .203 and .222 this season.

Cash called it "shocking" to hear that Bautista had never hit a regular-season walkoff homer.

"I think he got a first pitch fastball," Cash said. "No second-guessing. I thought that was the right matchup. It just didn’t work out in our favor."

The Rays play the Mets again today at 4:10 p.m. Pitcher Blake Snell will throw for the Rays against the Mets's Steven Matz.

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