Another catcher, another home run, another win

by Gary Shelton on August 28, 2021

in general

Zunino's three-run homer lifted Rays./TIM WIRT

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Ah, the pressure on Kevin Cash as he makes out another lineup.

Let's see. Should he start this power-hitting catcher today? Or should he start that power-hitting catcher?

Such is the quandary of being a major league manager. Cash can pick Mike Zunino, who had a three-run homer to win Friday's game. Or he can pick Francisco Mejia, who had a three-run homer to win Wednesday night's. Heavy is the burden of the man in charge.

Friday night, as the Rays beat Baltimore for the 16th time in 17 games, was Zunino's turn. He launched a 453-foot homer to center field in the seventh inning to lead the Rays to a 6 -3 victory over Baltimore. It was his 27th homer of the year (Mejia has six).

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Zunino is now within three homers of team leader Brandon Lowe. "I'm just trying to pull within striking distance," Zunino said.

The Rays got a solid start from Shane McClanahan, who has seen the Orioles' four times in the last month and solid defense to win the game. Wander Franco was athletic at short, and Kevin Kiermaier took away a home run ball in center.

“They were awesome," McClanahan said. "Every inning, I was having to turn and tip my cap at someone. They had some hard-hit balls, but Wander and KK were vacuums out there."

McClanahan now has nine wins on the season. Chris Mazza got the save, the 12th Ray to get one this season.

"It just shows you how many contributions were getting from so many pitchers," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash.

Cash didn't apologize for beating the Orioles so often.

"It’s major league baseball," Cash said. "These teams are good.  Sometimes it happens that way where it becomes a little lopsided through a season, but what it says is that these guys get up to play regardless of who they play. They’re going back to try to win the game."

The Orioles will start John Means in today's 7:05 game at Camden Yards. The Rays will start Michael Wacha.

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