Rays come back to win series vs. Braves

by Gary Shelton on July 19, 2021

in general

Kiermaier had a solid all-around game./JEFFREY S. KING

Monday, 4 a.m.

The finish was fine. The final innings for the Tampa Bay Rays included a comeback, and a great catch, and a key save. They involved yet another come-from-behind victory.

On the other hand, can the Rays do something about these horrible starts?

The Rays rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves Sunday -- and win their series -- with a 7-5 victory. It was their 28th come-from-behind win of the year, which is second in the major leagues.

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However, come-from-behind means falling back to start with it. It often means looking as numb as the Rays looked Sunday, when they didn't manage a hit through four innings.

"We’ve got to do a better job of getting out of the gate and trying to get some momentum going for us much earlier in the game," said centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who had a memorable day. "The comeback wins are great, don’t get me wrong. We have to focus better from first pitch and have better at-bats, We’re better when we play with the lead."

The Rays, coming off a 9-0 drubbing by the Braves, fell behind 3-0 on Sunday. It's first hit didn't come until the fifth on Brandon Lowe's check-swing grounder to third.

But Kiermaier had a double (and a great catch in center field with two runners in scoring position), Wander Franco had a homer and Yandy Diaz had a two-run shot. Pete Franklin closed out the game for his fifth save.

“There ’s no quit in us," Kiermaier said. "I’ve known that for years now. Don’t ever count us out util that 27th out is made. That’s what good teams do. They come  back."

In the comeback, Austin Meadows had a pair of sacrifice flies.

"K.K. had an awesome game," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "I don’t know if he robbed it or not — if it was going out or not"

Kiermaier's catch came in the bottom of the fourth, when the Braves led 3-0 and had runners on second and third. He ran to right, left and caught the ball near the top of the fence as he hit into the wall.

“I didn’t think it was going to go out, but the ball just just carrying like crazy all weekend," Kiermaier said.  "I knew I was getting close to the warning track. I felt that wall in my inner sub-conscience. That’s why I do that little jump. I didn’t expect to hit the wall as hard as I did. I tried to keep us in the game. Little plays like that go a long way. I was glad to see that one go into my glove."

The Rays return home to Tropicana Field for tonight's 7:05 p.m. game against Baltimore. Ryan Yarbrough will start for the Rays against a yet-to-be-named pitcher for the Orioles.

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