Rays break losing streak by stressing details

by Gary Shelton on July 5, 2021

in general

Yarbrough kept the Jays off-balanced./STEVEN MUNCIE

Monday, 4 a.m.

They came from behind.

They padded their lead.

It took a while, but they hit with men on base.

And in these strangest of all occurrences, the Tampa Bay Rays won a game on Sunday afternoon. After five straight losses, after 12 losses in their previous 16 games, the Rays paid attention to details and beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-1. And, man, does it seem like a long time since they have won.

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They got good pitching.

They got timely hitting.

The bullpen was lights out.

Does that sound familiar? Back during May, this team did those things all of the time. But it hasn't happened much lately. The Rays had been getting crushed. They kept striking out, and they kept leaving men on base, and they kept watching line drives into the gap.

This doesn't mean they are cured, of course. It's just that, for now, the headache has stopped.

The Rays got a solid start from Ryan Yarbrough, and a great relief appearance by Colin McHugh. Three players -- Austin Meadows, Wander Franco and Yandy Diaz -- got seven of their eight hits.

Meadows had three doubles. Franco had. double and a homer. Diaz had a single and a double. For once, it was enough.

"It feels really good. (to win again)," said Rays' manger Kevin Cash. "W e got an outstanding pitching performance, highlighted by Yarbs and McHugh."

Yarbrough gave up four hits and one earned run in five innings for the win. McHugh retired nine straight batters (Bo Bichette had a single but was picked off of first).

"I think it was just a matter of continuing what I did last time," Yarbrough said. "I was really trying to increase the tempo. Stay aggressive. I think that’s really the biggest thing after that really bad outing against the Red Sox." 

McHugh has now retired 29 of the last 30 batters he has faced. His last nine appearances have been scoreless.

McHugh's secret?

“Getting ahead," he said. "They preach it here, man. They really hammer it home. They encourage us very strongly to throw strike one."

Meadows now has 56 runs driven in this season.

“Austin is a professional hitter," Cash said. "He's proven that. Righty or lefty, it seems like he has a knack for having big at bats, and good at bats."

The Rays return home tonight at 7:10 p.m. for a game against Cleveland at Tropicana Field. Rich Hill will start for Tampa Bay against the Indians' Logan Allen.

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