Newcomers lead Rays past hot Orioles

by Gary Shelton on July 16, 2022

in general

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Who is this Christian Bethancourt, and what is he doing circling the bases of the Tampa Bay Rays?

Why, Bethancourt wouldn't even be a Ray if Mike Zunino wasn't hurt, or if the Rays had enough savvy at catching behind him.

Yet, that was Bethancourt, hitting a fly ball that was barely over the fence and barely inside the line -- it took an umpire's review to determine both -- to lead the Rays to a 5-4 victory over a hot Baltimore Orioles team.

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And while we're at it, who is this Yu Chang, and why does he keep hitting doubles for the Rays?

Why, Chang would even be a Ray if Brandon Lowe wasn't hurt, or if the Rays had enough impact in their infield in his place.

Yet, that was Chang, a lifetime .208 hitter, knocking in a pair of runs with a pair of doubles.

The newcomers Bethancourt and Chang -- with a combined seven Rays' games between them -- led the Rays to their fifth straight victory. Both probably have boxes they haven't unpacked; certainly, they have teammates they don't yet know.

Tampa Bay had just eight hits on the night, but in the sixth inning had four doubles and a home run to lead their comeback.

Baltimore scored on three home runs -- two of them by Ramon Urias 00 to make the game close.

"Yu Chang has really hit the ball well since he’s come over," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "You’re seeing some aggressiveness to of him, some intent. He’s really driving the ball well."

The big hit was by Bethancourt, whose ball barely cleared the 315 mark in left field and was barely fair. Left fielder Anthony Santander overran the ball, but it landed behind him over the fence.

"I thought he knocked it over the fence, so I knew I had at least had a double," Bethancourt said.

The Rays and Orioles play again today at 4:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Ryan Yarbrough will start for the Rays against Dean Kremer.

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