Rays come to life in ninth for victory

by Gary Shelton on June 29, 2023

in general

Josh Lowe's double led Rays to win./TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

The fast start had given way to a sluggish June. No one was talking about history anymore. No one was running away from anyone.

That was true of the team.

It was true of the player, too.

For Josh Lowe, and for his Tampa Bay Rays, life had turned into an uphill journey. Yes, the Rays were still in first place, but that no longer seemed guaranteed to last.

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As the team cooled, so too had Lowe. He hit .342 in March and April, but it didn't last. Coming into his at-bat in the ninth inning, he was hitting just .224 in June.

That didn't matter, however, when Lowe drove the second pitch he saw into left-center field for a two-run double to lead the Rays to a 3-2 comeback over Arizona.

Until that ninth inning, the Rays had been sleepwalking. They trailed 2-0 and they had only two hits -- both by Yandy Diaz -- off Zach Davies, who had come into the game with a record of 1-4 and an ERA of 7.82. Still, the Rays couldn't figure him out.

"We’ve got a number of guys who are kind of grinding through it right now," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "He’s probably been one of them. I'm happy for Josh." 

But Diaz led off the ninth with his third hit, and Wander Franco singled off of the pitcher. Luke Raley singled to right to drive in the first run. With two out, Lowe doubled.

The Rays' Zach Eflin pitched well in the no-decision. He went seven innings and gave up just two runs. Colin Poche got the win in relief. Pete Fairbanks picked up his ninth save.

The Rays close out their series with Arizona today at 3:40 p.m. Yonny Chirinos will start for the Rays against Brandon Pfaadt.

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