Ramirez delivers late in Tampa Bay win

by Gary Shelton on June 25, 2022

in general

Saturday, 3 a.m.

The kid with the blue hair kept shaking the popcorn out of it. For the most part, Harold Ramirez was a success at that, too.

Ramirez was hopping around first base, popcorn and gum in the air. A teammate placed an empty gum bucket on his head. And the Tampa Bay Rays were dancing again.

Ramirez delivered a one-out single to left field to give the Rays a 10-inning, 4-3 walkout win over the Pittsburgh Pirates Friday night It was his seventh pinch-hit RBI of the season. He drove in Vidal Brujan, who had stolen third base, with the winning run.

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"We’re fortunate to have guys who are ready and prepared in any situation," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. " There were a couple of different times we considered putting him (Ramirez) in there. I’m glad it worked out for him to get in there and come up with a big at-bat. Give those guys credit. That’s not an easy thing to do, to come up there when the game is on the line and be prepared and hit the ball through the infield."

Ramirez is hitting .467 as a pinch hitter with six RBI this season.

Brujan started the inning as a designated runner, then stole third. After that, the Pirates pulled their infield in, helping Ramirez single past them.

“He gets hits all the time," Brujan said. "With a guy like that, that’s why I want to get to third base, I knew he was going to hit it somewhere."

Said Ramirez: “I got very excited when he went to third because I know it’s going to be easier for me. I know he (reliever Yerry De Los Santos) throws a lot of sliders. He threw it right in the middle so I took advantage of that." 

The Rays spent most of their night on the ropes after taking a 3-0 lead in the second inning. They were hitless after the fifth inning until Ramirez's hit.

But their bullpen saved them, working four hitless, scoreless innings.

The biggest of those innings was in the top of the 10th, when reliever Jason Adam worked his way out of a first-and-third, no-out situation with two strikeouts and a pop up.

For the night, Rays' pitchers struck out 17 batters and walked no one.

“It was a pretty remarkable effort," Cash said. "It’s easy when that guy gets to third to assume that guy’s going to come and score. He made big pitch after big pitch. We’re fortunate . The pitching tonight was outstanding."

The Rays took their 3-0 lead behind the kids. Josh Lowe singled and stole second and was driven in on Luke Railey's first hit as a Ray. Later in the inning, Jonathan Aranda had his first major league hit to drive in a second run. A third run scored on a balk.

Three solo homers from the Pirates tied the score.

The Rays and Pirates play again today at 1:05 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Corey Kluber will start for the Rays against J.T. Brubaker.

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