Siri’s speed forgives Rays’ shortcomings

by Gary Shelton on July 29, 2023

in general

Siri stock Tim Wirt

Saturday, 4 a.m.

It isn’t so much that speed kills. In baseball, speed forgives.

This time, the speed was on the part of Tampa Bay Rays’ centerfielder Jose Siri, who scorched his way to the winning run in the ninth inning of Friday’s 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros. Siri, a .229 hitter, hustled his way to the winning run by stretching a single into a double, taking third on a fly out and scoring on another fly out.

That play offered forgiveness to another non-winning start by Shane McClanahan. It erased a two-for-12 effort with runners in scoring position. It wiped out memories of wasting a bases-loaded-no-one-out  situation in the fourth inning. It gave pardon to seven straight scoreless innings after a good start.

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Above all, it gave the Rays a victory, only their sixth in 21 games in July.

Siri led off the ninth with a liner to left field and never slowed as he took second. Catcher Christian Bethancourt tried to bunt him to third, but couldn’t. Instead, he sent a two-strike pitch to right field to move Siri over. Yandy Diaz then flew to right, driving in the winning run.

The Rays had only six hits on the night, but Houston hit five batters and walked three more.

Starter McClanahan hasn’t won since June 16h. He was staked to a 3-0 lead in the first on a three-run homer by Brandon Lowe. But the Rays’ offense had trouble with Houston starter Cristian Javier afterward.

In the fourth, the Rays loaded the bases when Randy Arozarena walked, Brandon Lowe had an infield hit and Isaac Paredes was hit by a pitch. But Javier struck out Josh Lowe and Siri on six pitches, then got Rene Pinto to fly out to center to end the inning.

Siri has speed, but he hasn’t always shown it this season. Part of the reason is that he has only 23 singles, which has limited his chances of stealing. This time, however, it came in handy.

The Rays play again tonight at 7:15 p.m. at Minute Maid Park. Taj Bradley will start for the Rays against Hunter Brown.

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