Diaz’s power leads the Rays over the Red Sox

by Gary Shelton on July 31, 2021

in general

Diaz has shown his power as of late./CHUCK MULLER

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Well, look who is finally showing his muscles.

Yandy Diaz, the well-constructed infielder of the Tampa Bay Rays, is finally discovering life on the other side of the fence.

That's always been the rub with Diaz. Despite his bulk, he never particularly hit for power. But consider this: Diaz has seven home runs in his last 34 games after going 62 games and 210 AB without one.

Diaz's power was evident on Friday night as the Rays overpowered the Boston Red Sox, 7-3, to move within one-half game of the Sox and the American League East lead.

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"At the beginning of the year, I couldn’t really find my swing," Diaz said. "It takes some time to keep my routine and get my work in. Luckily I’ve been able to find it since then."

Diaz has six hits over the last two games.

“Yandy set a tone early on," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "He had a big home run to give us a 2-0 lead. There were a lot of good at bats, a lot of balls hit hard. Yandy had a nice day at the plate. Wander (Franco) came up big."

The Rays don't always hit, but when the hitting is on, they can look formidable. They scored 21 runs in their last two games against New York and Boston, their biggest rivals in the division.

Diaz hit a first-inning homer. Franco later had a two-run double. Mike Zunino and Randy Arozarena hit home runs.

Josh Fleming started for the Rays and won his team-high eighth game. Newly acquired pitcher J.T. Chargois made his Rays' debut with one shutout inning in relief.

The Rays will play the Red Sox again today at 6:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Ryan Yarbrough will start for Tampa Bay against Nathan Eovaldi.

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