Rays take Pirates to Paredes City

by Gary Shelton on June 26, 2022

in general

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Isaac Paredes gives. More importantly, Isaac Paredes forgives.

Parades gave a pardon to the rest of the Tampa Bay Rays' organization Saturday. He allowed the team to erase a blow up by reliever Jalen Beeks. He forgave a baserunner blunder by Randy Arozarena. And he further erased any lingering criticism for the Rays trading popular outfielder Austin Meadows to acquire him in the off-season.

And that's the thing as Paredes threatens to turn St. Petersburg into Paredes City. His lethal bat is suddenly keeping the Rays afloat and making up for every flaw on the roster.

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The latest episode of the Paredes hit show happened in a 6-5 walk-off win against Pittsburgh Saturday, the second straight walk-off win the Rays have had. Parades two-run single in the bottom of the ninth, with two strikes on him, gave the Rays the victory. An inning earlier, he had hit his fifth homer in three games to bring the Rays within a run.

“He’s had a special couple of games here." said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "He’s picked us up in a big way. He’s fun to watch. He’s obviously seeing the ball real well.

"He does what we’ve seen when we acquired him. Be a guy who can shoot the ball the other way. He did that. He certainly picked us up in a big way."

The Rays seemed doomed in the ninth when Pirates closer David Bednar recorded two quick outs. But Ji-Man Choi worked a walk, as did Vidal Brujan. Pinch-hitter Jonathan Aranda got an infield single when his liner went off the pitcher, bringing up Paredes. With two strikes, Paredes went to right field for the winning hit.

"I was very confident going into that at bat," Paredes said.

Before Parades' late fireworks, the Rays seemed destined to squander another early lead. They had taken a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Brujan singled in two runs, but the Pirates came back.

The Rays pulled starter Corey Kluber with a 3-2 lead even though he had thrown just 63 pitches. The results were not good. Reliever Jalen Beeks, brought on to face left-handers, walked a batter, had another fly ball hit off the catwalk, and then gave up a long home run to Jack Suwinksi.

That, combined with Arozarena getting picked off second (after one of his four hits), seemed to be too much for the Rays to overcome.

Paredes changed that. For the last five games, he is seven-for-12 with five homers and eight RBI. For the season, he has 10 home runs. (Meadows has none).

"We traded a good player to get him, " Cash said. "We certainly feel like  we got a good player back. From what we’ve seen — a young player with a lot of confidence and has fit in really well to our mix of lineups."

The Rays close out their series against the Pirates today at 1:40 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Shane McClanahan will start for the Rays against Roansy Contreras.

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