Rays win fourth straight behind Churns

by Gary Shelton on July 29, 2020

in general

ChIrinos worked his way out of trouble./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

When the discussion turns to a big inning, fans think about offense.

They think about runners crossing the plate, and drives into the gap. They think about big hits and changing scoreboards.

But for the Tampa Bay Rays, the big inning in Tuesday night's 5-2 win over Atlanta wasn't the five-run bottom of the third. Despite the five runs, and the three walks, and the three hits, and the wild pitch, there was a bigger at-bat for the home team.

It was the one-run top of the inning.

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Before you consider their second big offensive night in two games (they scored eight in the fourth of Monday night's game), consider the plight of Yanni Chirinos, who was making his first start of the season. And he was in trouble.

The Braves loaded the bases with none out in the inning with the meat of their lineup coming to the plate. But Chirinos struck out Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman. The Rays scored once on a single by Marcell Ozuna, but the damage was minimal.

Then, in the top of the fourth, the Rays scored five times with two out. Three walks followed by three singles led to the outburst. Yoshi Tsutsugo had a two-run single.

"I think the momentum was started with the way we got to the bottom of the inning with Yonny," said manager Kevin Cash. "That’s kind of the ballgame. We’re in a bases-loaded no-one-out situation. They picked up one. We made some big. big pitches right in the thick of their lineup."

It was the fourth straight win for the Rays. The Rays also lost last year's opener, then won five straight.

“It’s encouraging, especially against the quality of the teams we’re playing," Cash said. "We’ve got to keep going. I thought Yonny was outstanding. That’s a lot of intensity in that third inning to get through that. The bullpen has been remarkable.

The Rays now travel to Atlanta for their first road trip of the season. Charlie Morton will pitch for the Rays against Mike Soroka at 7:10 p.m.

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