Pham’s scowl allows Rays to keep smiling

by Gary Shelton on September 3, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Pham takes an ice bath after walk-off hit./CHUCK MULLER

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

The look on his face seems to suggest that Tommy Pham is usually fairly ticked off.

His face twists into that of a boxer's, and his eyes glow as if they were lasers, and his

Pham takes a close pitch i the ninth./JOE MESTAS

jaw muscles tighten. For the Rays, it is the face they love.

Check the 10th inning of Sunday's game, if you will. Pham had already been plunked once on the knee, and then a ball came whizzing at his head, and he didn't appreciate the comments he heard from the bench of the Baltimore Orioles.

So when Pham stroked a single into left field to provide the Rays' seventh walk-off victory of the season, it was especially rewarding. The 5-4 victory was the Rays' fifth in a row, and it allowed them to remain atop the wild-card standings.

The Rays celebrate around Pham./JOE MESTAS

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Joey Wendle scores the winning run for the Rays./JOE MESTAS

“I’m more frustrated with their dugout hollering after the pitches that were thrown," Pham said. "I don’t know if you guys could hear that. I’m more frustrated with that. It was kind of like they were cheering him on, that he was buzzing me up and in. But success is revenge and I got the game-winning hit for us and we won.”

Meadows hit his 25th home run./CHUCK MULLER

The Rays' seven walkoffs are third in the American League.

Pham has hit safely in ten of the  last 11 games, batting .409 over that stretch. It was his third hit of the game, half of the Rays' totals. In Pham's 178 games with the Rays, Tampa Bay has now won 108 of them.

“I know he was banged up," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "His knee’s probably going to stiffen up a little bit. Came through for us in a big way. We talk about our big boys coming through for us. Tommy’s been doing that for us here as of late and certainly did that today. That was a big win. The way things were going, felt like we had a handle on it. They put some really good at-bats together against (Yarbrough) in the 6th inning.

d'Arnaud prepares to hit for Tampa Bay./CHUCK MULLER

Trumbo and Severino, that was really impressive to pick up three or four runs—whatever it was. But we answered back with Tommy’s efforts.”

Pham's hit scored Joey Wendle, who said he always expects Pham to come through.

“I was able to get a pretty big lead there, nobody was holding me on," Wendle said. "I got a big first lead and then a good secondary, so as soon as I saw that ball hit, it was just in my mind, I was scoring. Choi was there behind home plate letting me know which way to slide and, luckily, I got in there.

"It never surprises me when Tommy comes through. He’s a gamer. He’s focused and ready. When he came up in the 10th, he was ready. He’s a guy you want on our side when it gets like that."

The Rays took a 4-0 lead early, but the Orioles got to Ryan Yarbrough for four in the sixth. However, four Rays' relievers -- Diego Castillo, Oliver Drake, Emilio Pagan

Choi squares to bunt but takes a strike./JOE MESTAS

and Colin Poche -- threw four shutout innings, allowing only one hit to the Orioles.

“I thought they’ve been outstanding," Cash said. "The bullpen was outstanding today. Oliver Drake comes in, does his thing. Emilio. Diego had a clean inning, which was big for him—for us. And then Poche looked like he was closer to form with the strike throwing. His last couple outings it’s been a little bit of a challenge.”

Besides Pham's three hits, Austin Meadows had two in the Rays' six-hit attack. The big bats for the Rays have hit lately.

“They’re going to have to do that. They’ve got to continue and they’ve worked really hard to get to this point where we’re at. To play this final month with a lot of exciting stuff ahead. Really started to show in the Houston series. Even the middle

Castillo worked a clean inning for Rays./CHUCK MULLER

game. We started to see some life at the plate with some guys. Kind of the core guys that have been here, done that all year long. Look for that to carry over.”

Meadows was pleased with the winning streak.

"We’ve been going out there and battling each and every day. The pitching has been really good. Our timely hitting. Things have been going really well the past five games and we’re going to continue to keep it rolling.”

The Rays have a doubleheader scheduled today at 3:05 at Tropicana Field. Trevor Richards (4-12) will start the first game against Ty Blah (0-2).

Rays' Poche got the win for the Rays./CHUCK MULLER




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