Rays follow their script to another victory

by Gary Shelton on September 4, 2018 · 4 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Kiermaier had a single, double and a triple./JEFFREY S. KING

Kiermaier had a single, double and a triple./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

By now, they know the steps. The formula is familiar. The results are, too.

The Tampa Bay Rays continue to win, following a familiar blueprint to get past another opponent. Tampa Bay rose to 11 games above .500 -- the first time since 2013 -- with a 7-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The script? You get a nice opening inning from a pitcher. You score early. You get an excellent performance from your second pitcher -- one with length to it. You get a kid-led lineup. You follow up with another pitcher. You play good pitchers. You ignore the standings. And you outscore the opponent.

And just like that, and the Rays have won again.

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Chirinos allowed only one run in seven innings./JEFFREY S. KING

Chirinos allowed only one run in seven innings./JEFFREY S. KING

Tampa Bay made it 12 wins in their last 14 games Monday night, getting three hits from Kevin Kiermaier (a single, a double, a triple) and from Joey Wendle (who now has his average up to .302). Matt Duffy had two hits and two RBI in the game.

Pitcher Yonny Chirinos had a wobbly start with two walks and a single in his first inning. But he allowed only four hits and no other runs in his seven innings of work. His catcher, making his major league debut, was Nick Ciuffo,  yet another prized prospect for the team.

Wendle brought his average above .300./CARMEN MANDATO

Wendle brought his average above .300./CARMEN MANDATO

“When (Chirinos) is  going good, that’s kind of what we’ve seen," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He’s very, very efficient. What impressed me was that he didn't look so good when he first went into the game in the second. He couldn’t find his command for whatever reason. For a young pitcher, that has a tendency to snowball and carry over. Give him lot of credit for coming back to the dugout, and taking a deep breath, and getting into the zone and allowing his defense to make double play after double play. Yonny did his part  and the defense did theirs.

“The run they scored was on him with the free passes. He realized that he’s got to trust his stuff and do everything he can to get the ball over the plate. Once he got in that rhythm, he did well."

Duffy knocked in two runs for Tampa Bay./JEFFREY S. KING

Duffy knocked in two runs for Tampa Bay./JEFFREY S. KING

The Rays have now outscored opponents 72-37 in their last 14 games. They have three of the top 11 hitters for average in the league with Mallex Smith (.306), Wendle (.302) and Matt Duffy (.299).

"It's been fun," Cash said. "Since Smith went down, we've really pieced it together. We've had a lot of people provide a big boost for us.  There's some of the usual suspects, but there's one or two every night who step up."

Smith returned to the field on Monday night. "I'm just joining the train," he said.

Chirinos is now 3-5 on the season.

"You have to give all the credit to Yonny," Ciuffo said. "It was unbelievable what he did."

Kiermaier says he has pressed since coming off the disabled list. Now, he said, he's trying to keep it simple.

 "We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re getting there," Kiermaier said. "If we come out and take it one game at a time... Right now, we have a lot of fight left in us. It’s been a fun ride.  I don’t think too many teams want to see us right now."

The Rays play the Blue Jays again tonight. Ryne Stanek will again open for Tampa Bay. He'll oppose Ryan Borucki at 7:07 p.m.





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