Rays widen division lead with comeback win

by Gary Shelton on August 11, 2021

in general

Choi had a two-run double to tie the game./CHUCK MULLER

Wednesday, 4 a.m

It doesn't matter who the hero is. It doesn't matter who the opponent is. It doesn't matter that the circumstances are not identical.

For the Tampa Bay Rays, pulling another victory out of the fire never gets old.

For the three-dozenth time this season, the Rays got up off the floor and won a baseball game. This time, it was against the second-place-but-sinking Boston Red Sox, 8-4. This time, the heroes were Francisco Mejia and Ji-Man Choi -- neither of whom started the game. This time, the Rays opened up a five-game lead in the American League East, their widest spread of the season.

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Think of it. More than half of the team's 69 victories have come in games they trailed. That's the Rays -- Team Rocky. You can punch them, but if you knock them down, you had better stop on them.

Or this happens.

For the Rays, it was a familiar script Tuesday. The Rays fell behind 4-1, but they came back to tie on Choi's two-run double in the seventh. Choi had been 0-19 before the hit.

Then, with two out in the ninth, Mejia hit a single to right with the bases loaded to give the Rays the win. A third run scored on Hunter Renfroe's error, and Brandon Lowe singled in an insurance run.

“I think we have a bunch of guys who have a knack for having quality at bats ." Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "We talk about the high strikeout totals, but you've to factor in the high walks."

Case in point: Both Wander Franco and Austin Meadows walked in the ninth before Mejia's game-winning single.

"No one was wishing there was anyone else (besides Mejia) up at the plate," Lowe said. "Everyone had the belief he was going to do something good. For him to drive in three is why everyone was excited."

The Rays will start either an opener or Josh Fleming against the Red Sox tonight (7:10 p.m.) at Fenway Park. Boston will start Nathan Eovaldi.


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