Rays homer their way out of losing streak

by Gary Shelton on June 24, 2021

in general

Meadows' homer got the Rays' started./CHUCK MULLER

Thursday, 3 a.m.

Maybe this is how you kill a slump.

You muscle your way out of it.

The Tampa Bay Rays won another game Wednesday night -- finally -- by playing long ball in an 8-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox. It ended a seven-game losing streak, four of the losses in extra innings.

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Don't look at the averages. Look at the distances.

The Rays got a two-run homer from Austin Meadows, who is hitting .231, in the first inning.

They got a two-run homer from Mike Zunino, who is hitting .195, in the second.

And they got a three-run homer from Brandon Lowe, who is hitting .202, in the seventh.

It added up to a win from a team that used to know all about winning. The last week, however, has been a tough one for the team.

"We needed it," manager Kevin Cash said. "We’re a good team that’s gone through a tough stretch. We wanted to get out as quick as possible. We’ll take this. We got some big home runs with a guy or two on base every time. Very encouraged by that."

Meadows' homer came after Wander Franco had walked. Zunino's homer came after Brett Phillips had walked. Lowe's homer came after Joey Wendle was hit by a pitch and Manuel Margot singled.

Rich Hill gave up three hits and a run in five innings, and the bullpen once again was effective. Diego Castillo pitched the ninth, but only after he changed hats after talking to the umpires.

"They just recognized some wear and tear," Cash said. "There were dirt marks on the bill of it and we thought it was best to get him a new hat. It was not a substance issue. The umpires are trying to do their due diligence. If it’s as simple as changing a hat, then that’s a pretty simple thing for us to do."

The Rays moved within a half-game of the Red Sox with the victory.

Tampa Bay will face the Red Sox again at 7:10 p.m. tonight at Tropicana Field. Michael Wacha will pitch for the Rays against Nick Pivetta.

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