Meadows’ walk-off single lifts Rays to comeback

by Gary Shelton on July 22, 2021

in general

Meadows has often led the Rays to victory./STEVEN MUNCIE

Thursday, 4 a.m.

The moment was crucial. The man was essential.

For the Tampa Bay Rays, it was a winning combination on Wednesday afternoon. Austin Meadows drove in two more runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Rays to a 5-4 victory on his first-ever walk-off hit in the major leagues.

For the Rays, and for Meadows, it was nothing new. Meadows has 65 RBI this season, sixth in the majors, despite a recent home run drop.

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This time, he was facing a left-handed pitcher, and he was behind 0-2 in the count. But after two foul balls, he singled sharply to right to drive in Francisco Mejia and Kevin Kiermaier for the win.

 “Tanmer Scott (the Orioles' reliever) has a good baseball," Meadows said. "I knew he didn’t want to spike anything with runners in scoring position.

"We’re never out of it, man. I feel like as a team our at-bats, our pitching, gets better as the game gets on. Even if we’re down a couple of runs, we know we’re going to make it close or win. We never get down. We play all nine innings."

Consider this. In games the Rays have won this year, Meadows is hitting .304 with 15 homers and 59 RBI. In games they have lost, he's hitting .151 with one homer and six RBI.

”It's just confidence," said manager Kevin Cash. "He hits in the middle of the lineup constantly so he gets those opportunities. You don’t see him expand very often. He can put the ball in play when he needs to. He stayed in there and came up with a huge hit to give us a big win."

It wasn't all Meadows. Randy Arozarena seems to be snapping out of his slump. He had two home runs and a bloop single.

“When he’s hot, he’s one of the best  players on the planet," Meadows said. "To see that was awesome. After last post-season we know that when he’s like that it’s pretty ridiculous."

For the Rays, it was their 29th come-from-behind win this season. The Rays have won 28 games in which they didn't come from behind.

For the Rays, Collin McHugh got the win with two shutout innings.

Tampa Bay now travels to Cleveland to face the Indians. Luis Patino will start tonight's game against Cal Quantrill at 7:10 p.m.

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