Mejia’s home run lifts Rays over Phillies

by Gary Shelton on August 26, 2021

in general

Lowe reached 30 home runs./CHUCK MULLER

Thursday, 4 a.m.

For a part-time player, Francisco Mejia has a a big-time bat.

Mejia, the backup catcher to all-star Mike Zunino, struck again Wednesday night. His three-run homer on a 0-2 count in the ninth inning lifted the Rays to a 7-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

It was just another big swing by Mejia, who earlier this season had a grand slam against the Blue Jays, a five-RBI night against Baltimore, a four-RBI night against Boston and a bases-clearing double against Chicago.

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“He’s pretty clutch," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "After his homer, we were talking about the big. hits that he’s gotten. Certainly the grand slam in Toronto, the  seperator in Chicago, today. I know there more mixed in, but he has a knack for coming up with men on base and getting that big hit."

Mejia said he was just looking for a sacrifice fly to break the tie.

“I was just looking for a ball to hit into the air," Mejia said. "i had faced him a few times.The hit I got turned out a better results thatIi anticipated."

The Rays struggled against Phillies' ace Zack Wheeler, but they played better defense than Philadelphia and got a good job from the bullpen, although Collin McHugh gave up a thin home run to Rhys Hopkins.

“He's set a pretty high standard for himself. so it was pretty shocking," Cash said. 

For the Rays, Brandon Lowe hit his 30th home run of the season, a career high. Rookie shortstop Wander Franco extended his on-base streak to 25 games, most in the majors, and his hitting streak to nine games.

Franco's streak has history behind it for a player 20 years or younger. Only Mickey Mantle (who did it twice) and Al Kaline had that much success early. Mantle reached base in 38 straight games, but that was 70 years ago.

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