Liberatore shuts down Rays in victory

by Gary Shelton on August 11, 2023

in general

Franco's triple in 9th ends shutout./TIM WIRT

Friday, 4 a.m.

From the day they traded for Randy Arozarena, there haven't been many reasons for the Rays to look back.

Until Thursday.

In his time here, Arozarena has been a playoff hero, a Rookie of the Year, an all-star, a fan favorite. He has led the Rays as they have been a playoff team.

Matthew Liberatore, meanwhile, has struggled. The primary piece the Rays traded for him (on Jan. 9 of 2020), had been 3-6 in his career with a 6.47 ERA. This year, he was 1-4 with a 6.93.

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Then came Thursday, and Liberatore was the one who got away.. He gave up two hits in eight shutout innings (one of those was picked off base) in the Cardinals 5-2 victory. The Rays managed their runs only with two outs in the ninth inning.

For most of the night, the Rays had no clue as to what to do with Liberatore. He struck out seven and gave up only singles to Arozarena and Franco. He retired the last 14 batters he faced.

In the ninth, against the bullpen, Franco tripled in Yandy Diaz (who had singled) and scored on a wild pitch.

Zack Littell was decent for the Rays, giving up three runs, including a two-run homer to Andrew Knizner.

The Rays fell to three 2 games behind the Orioles in the AL East.

The Rays now face the Cleveland Guardians in a three-game series. Aaron Civale will start for the Rays against Xzavian Curry at Tropicana Field at 6:40 p.m.

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