Another late explosion leads Rays

by Gary Shelton on August 30, 2023

in general

Arozarena hit his 21st homer./TIM WIRT

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

The later it gets, it seems, the better they are.

Give them a couple of trips through the batting order to study the pitcher. Give them a shot at a bullpen arm.

Lately, however, the Rays light it up in the latter innings.

Take Tuesday night’s 11-2 bashing of the Florida Marlins. Don’t let the final score fool you. The Rays trailed 2-1 after five innings, and it was beginning to look as if the Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara was going to dominate them again.

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And then someone turned the light on.

In the Rays’ last four team at-bats, they scored 10 runs on 11 hits to win going away. It kept a streak of late-inning surges alive. The Rays were able to stay within 2 1/2 games of the Baltimore Orioles.

The Rays had just four hits in their first five at-bats. But in the sixth, Jose Siri hit a two-run double off the left field wall to give the Rays a 4-2 lead.

It isn't anything new. Since Wander Franco left the team, the Rays are 10-4. They've scored 87 runs over that span, and 61 of them have come in the sixth inning or later.

In the seventh, the Rays really got going. Harold Ramirez — a right-handle hit against a left-hander for some reason — singled in the go-ahead run. (Ramirez was hitting .355 against lefties). Randy Arozarena followed with a two-run homer to pad the lead.

The Rays scored three more in the ninth on home runs by Josh Lowe (his 18th) and Isaac Paredes (his 27th).

Starter Aaron Civale  struggled early, giving up four hits in the first inning and leaving the bases loaded. But he was able to get through five innings, and the bullpen was strong once again. The Marlins had just three hits in their last four at-bats.

The Rays and Marlins close out their two-game series tonight at 6:40 p.m. Zach Eflin will start for the Rays against Jesus Lizardo.

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