Arozarena’s slam leads to sweep by Rays

by Gary Shelton on June 14, 2021

in general

Cash's team has the best record in baseball./JEFFREY S. KING

Monday, 3 a.m.

On second thought, maybe the Orioles should have pitched to Austin Meadows, after all.


Talk about decisions gone wrong. It was in the seventh inning of Sunday's game between Baltimore and Tampa Bay, and Orioles' manager Brandon Hyde had a decision to make. The Rays, leading 3-1, and runners on second and third with one out.

Which is when Rays' manager Kevin Cash decided that Meadows would hit.

And when Hyde decided he wouldn't.

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Hyde chose to intentionally walk pinch-hitter Meadows and pitch to Arozarena, the star of last season's post-season, possibly because pitcher Cesar Valdez is right-handed. But Meadows, despite a hot steak recently, was only one-for-his-last-20. Arozarena hadn't homered lately, but he had a hit in 10 of his last 12 games.

What's that they say about decisions? The smart ones are the ones that work. This one didn't. On the third pitch he saw, Arozarena homered to center field to break open the game in a 7-1 win, the team's seventh sweep of the season.

“It was a really big moment," Cash said. "We wanted to separate the game there. Randy, going back to Camden yards, had a really good at-bat against Valdez It was almost like he remembered the approach. He stayed on it and smoked the ball out."

The Rays have now won 11 of their last 12 games against the Orioles.

The bullpen was solid again for Tampa Bay. They took over for Michael Wacha in the third, and four Rays relievers threw no-hit baseball against the Orioles. For the day, Baltimore had two hits off starter Wacha.

Josh Fleming threw four innings for the win, his sixth of the season.

“I felt really good today, especially with the cutter," Fleming seed. "I felt I had the best movement, the best command with it. The changeup was good when I threw it over the plate."

The Ray's bullpen retired the last 19 batters of the game for Baltimore.

 “We’re the best bullpen, I think, in the league," Fleming said. "They’re going to get it done. We have all the confidence in the world when we get to the bullpen."

Fleming said he called Arozarena's homer when he was in the clubhouse with Wacha.

Taylor Walls had three hits for the Rays.

Tampa Bay now heads to Chicago to face the White Sox tonight at 8:10 p.m. in what promises to be a pitcher's duel. Tyler Glasnow of the Rays will start against Lance Lynn of the White Sox, who is 7-1 with a 1.23 ERA this season.

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