Rays come-from-behind with offensive show

by Gary Shelton on May 20, 2021

in general

Cash is enjoying his team's offense./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 4 a.m.

These days, they buy their bats from the big-boy store. And how about those Tampa Bay Rays?

Suddenly, they are Cash's Crushers. Suddenly, they are the Big Blue Machine. Sometimes, you wonder if the outfielders are playing on the proper side the fence.

The raking Rays were at it again Wednesday night, spotting Baltimore a five-run lead, then hammering their way to a 9-7 victory. It was the sixth straight win for Tampa Bay, which has gone silly with suspect offense. In their winning streak, the Rays have scored nine, three, 12, seven, 13 and nine runs.

In all, the Rays have averaged 8.8 runs a game, have managed 35 extra base hits and are hitting .312 as a team.

Think about this: The Rays have won 25 games this season; of those, 12 have been come-from-behind efforts.

 “They’ve shown that time and time again," said manager Kevin Cash. "They're going to play. This was a big win. We're going against a guy (John Means) who has pitched as well as anyone in baseball. We didn't’ get him, but we got enough to put us within striking distance. Everyone played a role.

The biggest roles?

Start with left fielder Randy Arozarena, who hit two home runs, a double, and drove in four runs. He also made a homer-robbing catch in the sixth against Pat Valaika.

How about Mike Brosseau? He came in hitting .155, but he was in the lineup because he hits so well against Means. He homered again.

There was Kevin Kiermaier, who came off the injured list and had two hits.

There was Ji-Man Choi, in his second game off the injured list. He had two more hits (and two RBI) and is hitting .600.

"I think (the comebacks are) a sign of a good team," Cash said. "We're a good team that is doing some special things right now. It’s  not how we draw it up to fall behind, but you’ve got to compete when you’re behind.  And that’s what the guys are showing right now. "

The Rays survived a shaky start by Ryan Yarbrough, who is now winless in his last 22 starts. He gave up five runs in the first two innings off two homers and a bases-loaded double, although three of the six runs he allowed were unearned.

"I don't think he had his best command, his best stuff" Cash said. "He competed really well. He was so efficient. I was impressed he was able to fight through the outing. "

The Rays fought off a late rally by Baltimore in the ninth when Pete Fairbanks ended things by inducing a ground ball to Willy Adames. Adames made the play but came up limping.

“He’s fine," Cash said. "His calf kind of cramped up on him. Most likely, he'll get tomorrow off. I wasn’t sure if he rolled his ankle or his knee, but he said it was his calf cramp. It a good play by him and a good play by (Brandon) Lowe to be able to handle it. "

The Rays go for a series sweep today at Camden Yards at 12:35 p.m. Tampa Bay will throw Rich Hill against Dean Kremer.

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