Rays scrape out a victory over Phillies

by Gary Shelton on May 30, 2021

in general

Austin Meadows drove in three runs./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 4 a.m.

So what's tinier than small ball?

Micro-ball? Nano-ball? Ant-ball?

However you would describe it, you would need a microscope to watch the way the Tampa Bay Rays won a 5-3 decision over the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday afternoon. Call it the incredible shrinking game.

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The Rays, who have won 14 out of 15 games, scored two runs in the eighth inning against the Phillies by dodging and weaving. Their two-run inning overcame a day when the Rays struck out 16 times in eight at-bats.

You want to talk itsy-bitsy? Take your measuring stick out for this one.

-- Randy Arozarena started the inning with a ground ball. He was called out, but a review reversed the call.

-- Pitcher Sam Coonrod then threw a pitch so wild that, frankly, catcher J.T. Realmuto would still be looking for it (first baseman Alec Bohm had to retrieve it). Arozarena not only took second base on the pitch, he also took third.

-- Yandy Diaz was intentionally walked. Taylor Walls ran for him.

-- Austin Meadows, who had hit a 401-foot homer in the first inning, followed with a blow that went about, oh, nine feet. Pitcher Jose Alvarado, the old Ray, tried to field the putt but couldn't, as Arozarena scored and Meadows reached base.

-- After that, Ji-Man Choi was hit by a pitch.

-- Then pinch-hitter Mike Brosseau walked, forcing home another run. And, whammo, there are your fireworks.

“We know Jose really really well," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "When he’s right he’s as tough as anybody. We’ll take it. The key was getting Randy on base and allowing  some things to go our way. Meadows hung in there. Just put it in play when you chop it, and you’ve got a chance with a guy on third. A lot of things went our way, for sure."

It was the third time this season Meadows recorded a go-ahead hit in the 8th inning (or later). He did it just twice in his career from 2018-20. He has eight hits in his last 15 at bats with runners in scoring position after starting the season by going 5-for-28 (.179) in these situations.

In his last 14 games, Meadows is hitting .316 with four homers and 19 runs batted in.

"Jose Alvardo, he’s really nasty," Meadows said. "He’s got good life on his fastball, so honestly, you’ve got to sit on the fastball. He threw a cutter that last one. I tried to see it and put the bat on it. When you do that, good things can happen."

Ryan Yarbrough started and went 4 1/3 innings for the Rays, giving up three hits and two earned runs. The bullpen pitched the final 4 2/3, giving up three hits and one earned run.

The Rays play Philadelphia again today at Tropicana Field, starting at 1:10 p.m. Josh Fleming will start for the Rays against Zach Eflin of the Phillies.

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