Rays keep pushing with easy win over Miami

by Gary Shelton on September 25, 2021

in general

Kiermaier had a single, double and a triple./JOE MESTAS

Saturday, 4 am.

This is how you follow up on success. You keep it going.

The game before, the Tampa Bay Rays had made the playoffs, their third straight season. They had survived, and now they had a weak Miami team coming to town.

And, no, they did not take a breath. Instead, the Rays clobbered Miami, 8-0, to keep pushing toward the AL East title. That win, coupled with the Yankees' 8-3 victory over Boston, narrowed the Rays' magic number to two. They could clinch today if they beat Miami again and if New York beats Boston.

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Either way, it was an impressive win. Keven Kiermaier had three hits and drove in three runs. Randy Arozarena had a three-run double. Frankie Mejia had a two-run single.

But perhaps the Rays' best player, for a change, was Ryan Yarbrough, who allowed only two hits over his six innings.

“Yarbs had done good things the last couple of innings against the Tigers," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "It was good to see him pick up where he left off. A lot of popups. a lot a miss-hits. It was the Yarbs we're used to seeing. It was encouraging to see him get back into that rhythm."

The Rays' welcomed back Wander Franco to their lineup. Franco, who had been out with a hamstring injury, had a walk and a double to extend his on-base streak to 40 games. Of players 20 and younger, only Frank Robinson of the Reds, who had 43 in a row back in 1956, has had a longer streak.

"It was nice to have him  back," Cash said. "He plays with a lot of energy and looks healthy."

Kiermaier had a walk, a single, a double and triple in the win. He drove in three runs. Over his last 19 games, Kiermaier is hitting .333. He overall average is now up to .255.

"I’m just trying to simplify things," KIermaier said. "I want to get on base. That’s what I’ve been trying to do since the second half started. I just wanted to make more of a contribution offensively. I just wanted to reset things and be a much better player the second half. I can hit all singles. I just want to get on base and let the big boys drive me in."

The Rays will play Miami again today at 6:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Shane McClanahan will start for the Rays against Sandy Alcantara.

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