Rays keep winning, quiet Yankees’ bats

by Gary Shelton on June 1, 2021

in general

Kiermaier had two hits in the win on Monday./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

There are answers in the success. There are clues to the internal thinking of a team that is smarter than most.

Take this away from the Rays' 3-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Monday, for instance. This is yet the latest comment to the persistent question of "why don't the Rays love a closer?"

Well, go back to the eighth inning of Monday's game, and look at the mountains in front of Ryan Thompson.

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There was D.J. LeMaheiu. After him was Giancarlo Stanton. After him was Aaron Judge. Together, those three players will make more than $54 million this year, almost all of it because they are gifted with bats in their hands. Forget the ninth; if the Rays were going to hold on to win, it was time.

And Thompson, who is paid $577,200 this year, struck out LeMaheiu. He struck out Stanton. He got two quick strikes on Judge before retiring him on a fly ball.

And the Rays won.

It was the Rays' 16th win in 17 games, the first time the team has ever done that in a 17-game stretch. And it gave the team 22 wins in May, their most ever. The Rays continue to lead the AL East.

“Everything came together," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said.
We played a really complete game. Yandy’s (Diaz) play was huge (he dove to field a ground ball and started a double play in the fifth inning). It was a pivotal point in the ballgame. Rich (Hill's) start was outstanding. (Michael) Wacha comes in and does his thing and hands over to the big guys at the back of the bullpen. Thompson highlighted that going through the teeth of that lineup."

The Rays scored on a double by Manuel Margot, a just-over-the-fence homer from Austin Meadows and a single by Randy Arozarena.

Cash pulled starting pitcher Rich Hill, who got the win, after only five innings and 56 pitches. But the bullpen allowed just one run and two hits, which justified the move.

Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier continues to be a huge fan of HIll's.

"It's just incredible what he can do," Kiermaier said. "I’m thinking about how his role has transcended. He's just pitched himself into a role that he deserves to be out there as long as the coaching staff thinks. He’s incredible."

On the bullpen, Kiermaier said: "They're fun to watch. I’m just glad I have the same uniform as them. If they keep throwing the ball like that, we’re going to be just fine."

Kiermaier had two hits on the day.

“Hitting has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to work on in my life," Kiermaier said. "I'm trying to find a comfort level. This game will drive you crazy. I’m trying to be better, trying to contribute more."

The Rays will start Tyler Glasnow tonight against the Yankees in a 7:05 game at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will counter with Domingo German.

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