Rays’ latest comeback defeats Red Sox

by Gary Shelton on September 7, 2021

in general

Meadows tied the game with an inside-the-park homer./CHUCK MULLER

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

You have seen it before. By now, the image of the Tampa Bay Rays is that of a battered boxer, bruised and bleeding as he leans against the ropes. He seems to be barely holding on as he absorbs the beating.

And then the music starts, and he starts to fight back. And before you know it, he is Rocky, and he has found a way to a win once again.

It has happened 43 times in the 87 games won by the Rays. Time and again, Team Resilient has gotten up off the canvas and pulled out a victory.

But none of them were better than the Rays' 11-10 win over Boston in 10 innings Monday.

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Consider the rival. Consider the deficit. Consider the few hours of sleep. Consider the opposing pitcher. And consider the heroics.

The Rays charged back from a six-run deficit Monday afternoon to slip past the Boston Red Sox, 11-10, in a game filled with highlights and lowlights. It allowed the Rays to increase their lead in the American League East to eight and a half games over the New York Yankees and nine games over the Red Sox.

This one had to leave the Boston players talking to themselves. The Red Sox had beaten the Rays the last two games they two had played, and they had a 7-1 lead with their best pitcher, Chris Sale, on the mound. The Rays, who played in St. Petersburg the night before, got off to an awful start. It didn't look to be their game.

And then it was. Again.

The Rays keep doing this. By now, they are comfortable hanging around, making every inning tougher to get them out. They seem to have a knack for this rally game.

How do they do it?

-- They got four hits from Wander Franco, who reached base for the 36th straight game to tie a 70-year-old American League record of former Yankee Mickey Mantle for longest streak for a player age 20 or younger. Want to compare streaks? Mantle hit .287 in his streak. Franco is hitting .336. Franco now trails only former Cincinnati star Frank Robinson, who has 43.

-- They got a single, a triple and a home run from Nelson Cruz. Cruz also hit a fly ball that was dropped an initially called a triple, which would have given him six RBI for the day.

-- Austin Meadows tied the game at 9 with an inside-the-park homer in the ninth.

-- Yandy Diaz had three hits.

-- Jordan Luplow had two hits.

-- Brandon Lowe had a pinch-hit single to drive home Cruz with the eventual winning run.

-- Collin McHugh got the win by pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the 10th.

It was one of the biggest games of the season by Cruz, who entered the game hitting just .206 as a Ray.

 “He had a lot of impressive at bats today," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "They changed (his fly in the fourh) over to an error, I don’t see how you do that. That’s a triple. The guys dealing with the sun. Regardless. Nelly’s doing what we brought him here to do. He’s picking up runs, He’s having good at-bats, His leadership. He’s been quiet here over the last couple of weeks but he rose to the occasion big time multiple times today for us."

The Rays seemed to get a charge out of Meadows' home run. It was his 24th home run and his 97th RBI.

“My legs almost gave out when I was rounding third," Meadows said. "I kind of stumnled when I went around third. I had to give everything I had left."

The Rays were in a fix with their slow start. Starter Ryan Yarbrough was hammered, lasting just six outs and giving up seven runs and eight hits. Center fielder Manuel Margot had a difficult afternoon.

Still, they won.


"You’re never surprised with these guys," Cash said. "They stay at it and they stay positive. We're down 7-1 facing Chris Sale. We had reasons to be frustrated. We left guys on base."

The Rays will play the Red Sox again tonight (7:05 p.m.) at Fenway Park. Drew Rasmussen will pitch for the Rays against Eduardo Rodriguez.

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