Rays wake up late in 7-1 win over Texas

by Gary Shelton on June 7, 2021

in general

Diaz hit his first home run of the season./CHUCK MULLER

Monday, 4 a.m.

The kid just got off the plane. He probably has boxes that are still unpacked. Much of the world still doesn't know his name.

But 15 games into the career of Taylor Walls, there is a lot to like.

Walls' two-run single in the eighth inning highlighted an awakening by the Rays on Sunday when they scored seven runs in their final two at-bats to beat the Rangers, 7-1. The Rays had dozed for much of the first seven innings before the outburst.

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Walls, a 24-year-old rookie shortstop, had two doubles and a single in the victory. He entered the game hitting just .215, but he came out of it hitting .262.

“The last series with the Yankees, I made some small adjustments," said Walls, who replaced Willy Adames when Adames was traded. "Some of the situations I made a little bigger than they were. I sped the game on myself when, in reality, I didn’t have to do that. It was really the first time I felt that since I've gotten here. I was really working on slowing it down. taking a couple of  things here and there: stay short on the ball. free it up. As far as my approach, I've had a solid approach. I trust my approach. I feel I do my homework and I have the right reads on people."

The Rays had the help of the Rangers in their three-run eighth. Brandon Lowe reached on an error, and Randy Arozarena had a swinging bunt that stayed fair. Mike Brosseau followed with a walk to load the bases, and Yandy Diaz walked to force in a run.

That brought up Walls, who hit a two-strike pitch to center to knock in two runs.

In the ninth, Austin Meadows drove in two runs with an opposite field single, and Diaz hit his first home run of the year, a two-run shot.

"Taylor came up with a big hit to give us a lead," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "He has a good understanding of what they’re trying to do to him. When he needs to swing early on a guy, he’s prepared to do that. When the guy is throwing off speed early, he’s looking for it early. He’s done a really good job. Today was a big day."

The Rays pieced together six relievers to win the game, and the last five of them threw shutout baseball. J.P. Feyereisen got the win.

The team seemed to enjoy the home run by Diaz.

"I feel free," Diaz grinned.

Said Cash: "The guys were pumped. I didn’t care if he didn’t hit a home run. I’m sure Yandy was happy because he was tired of hearing about it."

The Rays had only four hits through the first seven innings. In their last two at-bats, they scored seven runs on five hits, two walks and two errors.

"The good teams do that," Cash said. "It was not coming easy for us. Their guys pitched a tremendous ballgame. You have to be opportunistic. Credit our pitching for keeping us in the game."

The Rays have a day off today. They return to play on Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Tyler Glasnow will pitch for Tampa Bay against the Washington Nationals, who will start Jon Lester.

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