Rays’ offense breaks loose in win over Angels

by Gary Shelton on June 27, 2021

in general

Choi had four hits for the Rays./CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Oh, so that's why he's in the lineup.

Brett Phillips, good old weak-hitting Brett, had spent a lot of time being a hole in the Tampa Bay batting order until Saturday afternoon. He had been hitless in his last 15 at-bats, and he had one hit in his last 18 and two hits in his last 29.

And then, it turns out the outfield of the Los Angeles Angels wasn't playing him deep enough.

Phillips cranked a two-run triple to ignite the Rays' offense and led Tampa Bay to a 13-3 bashing of the Angels. Phillips later had a single and finished the day with three RBI.

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Who'd have thunk it?

"Philly had a great day," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "He picked us up with some great at-bats and made some nice plays in the outfield."

On the other hand, who didn't have a good day offensively for the Rays. Coming in, Tampa Bay was hitting .201 over the last four games and .153 with runners in scoring position. Against the Angels, the Rays had 15 hits and was six-of-11 with runners in scoring position.

The Rays fell behind 3-2 after a fluky third inning, but scored four in he fourth and fie in the seventh to blow open the game.

"Answering back was really nice," Cash said. "Alex Cobb is as good a competitor as you're going to see and a good pitcher. You might as well not let him get settled in because if he does, you’ve got your hands full. "

Ji-Man Choi had four hits for the Rays. Randy Arozarena had three. Austin Meadows and Phillips each had two. Manny Margot hit a two-run homer and Mike Zunino a solo homer.

But the key to the day may have been the way that pitcher Shane McClanahan was able to settle himself after a rough third inning. Shohei Otani had a double on a chopper that bounded over the head of Choi, and Anthony Rendon hit an opposite field bloop that fell in for another double.

"Personally, I’m so impressed with Mac and the way he went about it," Cash said. "That was a frustrating inning when they scored their three runs. That's baseball. They didn’t hit a ton of balls hard, but we’ll take runs that way as well. For a young player, he was able to keep his composure and was able to reset his mind and give us three innings after that.

"He competes. He doesn’t like giving up runs. He doesn’t like having baserunners. He sets the bar very high for himself -- as he should because he’s very talented. I think he also understands that not everything is going to go your way, and when it doesn’t, that’s going to define him as a pitcher."


McClanahan threw 36 pitches in the third inning. Over the next three, however, he threw just 29.

"The goal is to get weak contact," McClanahan said. "It got weak contract and it didn’t roll my way that inning. I’m not going to change what I do. Sometimes it’s not going to go your way.

"Snides (pitching coach Eric Snider) made a good comment. 'You got the weak contact. It's out of your control.' If I keep making pitches, good things are going to happen more times than not."

The Rays play the Angels again today at 1:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Ryan Yarbrough will pitch for the Rays against Patrick Sandoval.

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