Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Duncan brings thunder to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Kelly Johnson hinted that when it comes to high-fives from Shelley Duncan, you'd better brace yourself.

Duncan, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound DH, doesn't hold back.

"He's bringing some thunder if he's going to celebrate," Johnson said, smiling. "You know it's coming."

Duncan, 33, had a reason to celebrate Wednesday night, sparking the Rays' 8-7 walkoff win with a tying three-run homer in the sixth inning. It was the kind of power the Rays envisioned when they signed the former Yankee to a minor-league deal in the offseason, believing he might provide insurance if DH Luke Scott got hurt.

Duncan, a late addition to the roster Sunday when Scott (calf strain) was placed on the disabled list, made his first Rays hit memorable, a 383-foot blast with two out and two on to tie it at 4.

"I think it was awesome seeing the whole team work together for that win," Duncan said. "It wasn't a one- or two-guy show. Playing against these guys, it was how they'd always beat us. And it was special being part of it."

Duncan, a right-handed hitter, said he didn't know if he'd get to bat during the sixth-inning rally. The Orioles had right-handed reliever Luis Ayala on the mound, and Duncan is expected to get starts against left-handers.

"To tell you the truth, during the past, they'd probably pinch-hit for me every time," he said.

But manager Joe Maddon, having seen Duncan lead the team with five spring homers, said if the matchup is good they'll leave him out there for righties. And Maddon knew if he pinch-hit left-hander Matt Joyce, the Orioles could counter with lefty Brian Matusz, who was warming up.

Maddon's faith was rewarded with Duncan's homer, which energized the entire building.

"It was instant energy," Johnson said. "Everybody in the crowd, everybody in the dugout, so it was really cool."

Duncan, a part-time player his first six seasons, appreciates every opportunity in Tampa Bay. He was getting ready to drive to Triple-A Durham on Sunday when he got the unexpected callup.

Duncan is excited for his father, former longtime pitching coach Dave Duncan, and brother Chris, a former Cardinals first baseman, to arrive at the Trop this weekend to watch him play.

And Maddon, who has known the Duncan family for years, believes Shelley will continue to make an impact with his bat.

"He looks really good, he looks comfortable," Maddon said. "He looks very 'hitterish' right now and he responded well today."

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]om.

Comments
Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:05 Wednesday

Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:05 Wednesday

Wednesday: at Orioles7:05, Camden Yards, BaltimoreTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)Probable pitchersRays:  RH Jake Faria (1-1, 5.82)Orioles: RH Alex Cobb (0-2, 15.43)On Faria: Coming off quality start vs. Rangers, allowing Shin-...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

BALTIMORE – Carlos Gomez is perfectly willing to explain the specific elements that went into his epic celebration tour around the bases following Sunday's walkoff home run.The bat flip and raised arms were his initial reaction to how well he h...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

BALTIMORE – If the Rays were going to get rained out Tuesday, they were happy  the Orioles made the decision at a good hour, around 5 p.m."I think they probably did the right thing in the fact that they knew there's a bunch of rain coming,...
Published: 04/24/18
Rays-Orioles postponed, doubleheader planned for May 12

Rays-Orioles postponed, doubleheader planned for May 12

UPDATE, 6:06: The Rays will stay in rotation, so Faria will slide back a day and pitch Wednesday, vs. Cobb, and Archer will get an extra day's rest and pitch Thursday, against RHP Dylan Bundy.Also of note, Cash said 3B Matt Duffy (right hamstring str...
Published: 04/24/18
For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing Cobb, weather permitting

For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing Cobb, weather permitting

The Rays are set to get their first look at an old friend tonight, as Alex Cobb will be on the mound for the Orioles, weather permitting.Heavy rain is forecast for the Baltimore area, though Orioles officials seem confident there will be a window for...
Published: 04/24/18
Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:10 Tuesday

Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:10 Tuesday

Tuesday:  at Orioles7:05, Camden Yards, BaltimoreTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish) Probable pitchersRays:  RH Jake Faria (1-1, 5.82)Orioles: RH Alex Cobb (0-2, 15.43)On Faria: Coming off quality start vs. Rangers, allowing ...
Published: 04/24/18
Rays prospect Adames hits for cycle

Rays prospect Adames hits for cycle

Willy Adames, the Rays top position player prospect, touched all the bases in hitting for the cycle in Triple-A Durham's Monday's win over Buffalo.Adames doubled in the first inning, singled in the fifth, tripled in the sixth and completed the rare f...
Published: 04/24/18
Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

As former teammates with the Rays and throughout baseball share thoughts and prayers, RHP Danny Farquhar is "progressing well" in a Chicago hospital after suffering a hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm on Friday.The White Sox on Monday released th...
Published: 04/23/18
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Published: 04/23/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Carlos Gomez, who had been struggling, delivers a two-run, walkoff home run as the Rays sweep the Twins for the first time at Tropicana Field. Rick Stroud discusses the moment and the celebration that followed Gomez's first career walkoff hit in toda...
Published: 04/23/18