d’Arnaud delivers again for the Tampa Bay Rays

by Gary Shelton on July 22, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

d'Arnaud flips his bat after hitting a grand slam./CHUCK MULLER

Monday, 3 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Rays are still struggling as they go along.

The Travis Bay Rays, however, are cooking.

d'Arnaud has been impressive for Rays./CHUCK MULLER

Travis d'Arnaud, a desperation pickup for the Rays earlier this summer, was performing heroics again Sunday. His second-inning grand slam was one of only three hits the Rays managed, but they were still able to capture a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

d'Arnaud has been among the most noticeable of Rays' hitters this month. He had a walk-off homer to beat Baltimore, and a three-homer game against the Yankees that included a three-run  game winner against Arodlis Chapman for a win. Then Sunday, he launched a 420-foot homer for his first career grand slam to help the Rays snap a five-game losing streak.

Adames and d'Arnaud celebrate a grand slam./CHUCK MULLER

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Snell allowed only three hits and struck out 10./CHUCK MULLER

Over the past seven games, d'Arnaud has as many RBI (nine) as the rest of the team combined.

“It was huge," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said of the slam. "We really needed it

Garcia celebrates Sunday's win over Chicago./CHUCK MULLER

because there wasn’t much after that. Travis has been swinging a pretty hot bat for us. He’s come up with some big home runs as of late. That was a really big one. Just kind of relaxed the dugout a little bit that we put a crooked number up there rather than a missed opportunity.”

d'Arnaud enjoyed the home run, too."

“It’s a pretty good one," he said. "Top 10, I would say. More importantly we won

today. We were able to hold off the sweep and now we have momentum going into the Red Sox series. It’s huge to be up by four runs. Maybe a few exhales, definitely more relaxed body languages. It was good to be up 4-0.”

Kolarek had his first save of the season./CHUCK MULLER

Joey Wendle had a 10-pitch walk to load the bases to set up d'Arnaud's homer.

“I thought it was a huge at-bat," d'Arnaud said. He battled. I think he was at two strikes early in the count and he was able to tire him out a little bit. I think it got me a good pitch to hit. That was probably the biggest at-bat of the day if you were to ask me.”

The Rays managed only two other hits all afternoon, but it was enough with Blake Snell on the mound. Snell pitched six innings and allowed three hits and no runs, striking out 10. Adam Kolarek had his first career save in the game.

In the first inning, Snell threw a wild pitch. However, d'Arnaud got to the ball quickly and threw to Snell, who tagged Leury Garcia out at home.

Pham had an 0-for-4 afternoon./CHUCK MULLER

“His best inning of work probably came in the first inning when he got out of that jam," Cash said. "Ball gets away, then Travis makes a great play. Blake is there on time and almost blocked the plate like he’d done it before. Made some big pitches. Got us to where we needed to. Still looking for Blake – he’s ca- pable of going deeper in ballgames. But the White Sox had some lengthier at-bats against him. The 5th inning – if that’s a shorter inning he probably gets a little bit longer leash. But given what took place with 20-plus pitches, I think, in the 5th, the 6th was it. He did a really good job with it.”

Snell was pleased, too ... to a point.

“I felt good about it," Snell said. "There are still some things I need to sharpen.

Meadows is hitting .293 for the Rays./CHUCK MULLER

Overall I was happy with the way I pitched. I wish I would have had more first-pitch strikes. Frustrated with that. Two walks, frustrating. All-in-all, it was good. Got us back in the win column. Travis’ at-bat – all the at-bats leading up to Travis’ at-bat were huge. They were good at-bats. Avi and Wendle working it. Being able to do that, hit a grand slam, get the lead quick.

"For the team to give me a lead quick, I was definitely more comfortable. I was able to attack the way I wanted to. I’m using the fastball more. Curveball’s getting better. Changeup’s get- ting better, but I still feel like I’m pitching the same way. It’s just more so going my way.”

The Rays now open a series against the Boston Red Sox. Jalen Beeks will start for the Rays against Eduardo Rodríguez tonight at 7:05 p.m.

The Rays placed Kiermaier on the injured list./CHUCK MULLER

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