Rays’ late innings leads to latest victory

by Gary Shelton on May 24, 2021

in general

Kittredge finished things off for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 3 a.m.

Boy, must the Toronto Blue Jays be weary of seeing the Tampa Bay Rays. And frankly, they aren't too fond of Manuel Margot, either. Also, they've seen all they care to of Francisco Mejia.

The Rays continued to drub the Blue Jays Monday afternoon, erupting in extra innings for a 14-8, 11-inning victory. It was the Rays' 11th straight win -- and their third straight series sweep.

This may have been one of the harshest losses for the Jays, who came back from deficits of five runs and two runs before the Rays, once again, found a way to victory. The Rays scored seven times in the top of the 11th to finally close the door.

The Rays have now won 11 straight games, second longest in franchise history to a 12-game streak in 2004. Still, this streak is better. That one only brought the Rays to within 10 1/2 games of the division lead; this one has allowed Tampa Bay to take over the division lead.

“It's a good team, man," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "It's doing things really, really well. They’re  going to continue to compete, to put together the at-bats. We had just outstanding at-bats."

The biggest?

-- Margot drove in three runs in the two extra innings. He's hitting .396 with two outs this season, and he's driven in 17 runs.

-- Joey Wendle had a first-inning grand slam. He had three hits on the day and four RBI, driving his average up to .310.

-- Austin Meadows had two extra-inning RBI.

-- Mejia snapped a 7-7 tie with an opposite field single two games after his extra-inning grand slam.

The Rays had a chance to close out the Jays earlier, but struggled to keep Toronto's hitters inside the park. Starter Ryan Yarbrough gave up just three hits, but all of them were homers (two to Vlad Guerrero Jr.). Marcus Semien hit a homer to tie it at 7 in the bottom of the eighth.

"I thought Yarbs pitched very well," Cash saidl. "We all recognize the ball was flying pretty good. You didn’t think it was going to stay 5-0."

In the end, the Rays won the game with five hits and a walk in the 12th.

"When we support each other, we can do anything,' said Mejia.

Mejia's game-winner came on the second pitch he saw.

"I was definitely ready," Mejia said. "I was thinking about that situation early in the game. I know with a man on second in extra innings , you have to be prepared. With all the hard work you put in, those are the results you're looking for."

In their 11-game streak, the Rays have averaged 8.6 runs per game. They've hit 24 homers and 59 extra base hits. Their team batting average is .282, and it's .331 with runners in scoring position.

The Rays return to Tropicana Field tonight to play the Kansas City Royals in an attempt to tie the franchise record for wins. Rich Hill will pitch for the Rays against Brad Keller. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:10 p.m.

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