Rays win as Wacha pitches well again

by Gary Shelton on September 4, 2021

in general

Kiermaier had a run-scoring triple./TIM WIRT

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Michael Wacha lives.

Wacha, whose status as a starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays appeared to be in jeopardy not long ago, once again pitched as if his job depended on it -- and it might have.

Wacha led the Rays to a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins Friday night, going six innings and allowing just three hits and two runs (both on solo homers).Wacha has now allowed just three earned runs over his last 10 1/3 innings, which seems to make his spot in the rotation solid for now.

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Wacha had been an awful stretch, allowing 18 earned runs in 14 innings and three starts.

“He was really good," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "It was a great outing by Wacha. Good to see him  kind of putting them back-to-back now. Really three in a row. The fastball’s playing really well. The changeup plays off that. Just an outstanding performance by Michael.

During the rough times, this was what Cash had hoped for from Wacha.

 “We feel that about most of ours guys... a lot of our guys," Cash said. "We appreciate how challenging this game can be at times. We owe it to the player to be very patient, understanding that there is some good that comes out of some tougher times. It’s not always going to be smooth, but we trust what we view, what we see."

Wacha admitted he was in a tough stretch.

"I was trying to stay positive though it all," he said. "It was definitely a tough stretch. At times like that, you have to believe that you’re a better pitcher than the results. In this game, you’ve got to go out there and play with confidence.Iif you feel like you’re struggling and this guy is about to hit it a mile, if those doubts come into your mind, usually you don’t have the best success."

The Rays' bats, quiet the previous two nights, started out strong. They had six hits and five runs in the second and third innings. Then, however, they went silent again. They didn't score or have another hit after the third inning.

Kevin Kiermaier had an RBI triple. Austin Meadows had two hits, including his 94th RBI.

The Rays will play the Twins at 4:10 p.m. today at Tropicana Field. Chris Archer will start for the Rays against Andrew Albers.

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