Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Pep talk helps Rays' Scott break through against Dickey

TORONTO — DH Luke Scott had faced Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey 10 times before with nary a hit, and his first two times up Sunday he went down meekly.

Before Scott went to the plate in the sixth, manager Joe Maddon tried to offer some encouragement. "He had been 0-for-his-life against Dickey up to that moment," Maddon said. "I kept talking to him, I was doing a little massaging in the corner there before he went out to hit to try and build his confidence up because I knew Dickey had his number. But if you keep on swinging, good things can happen."

With the score 1-1 and James Loney on first with one out, Scott quickly got down in the count 0-and-2. But he battled, fouling off two pitches, taking three then fouling off another before taking his biggest swing, a two-run home run.

"Very, very satisfying," Scott said. "Very grateful. He's really, really tough, for me personally. … It's just been year after year. It should be illegal to throw that pitch, but there's a reason why he won the Cy Young last year. It's a real good pitch."

Scott, still coughing from a three-day illness, extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games and is hitting .383 in that stretch.

ARCHER UP: Rookie RHP Chris Archer looked to be in trouble when he hit the first batter of the sixth then walked the next, and a two-out walk loaded the bases. But he got through that inning and the next and won his third straight and fifth overall.

Archer, coming off a complete game in his last start, felt good that Maddon, who had a shorthanded bullpen, had the confidence to let him work through his trouble. "It's comforting knowing that," said Archer, who lost streaks of 18 innings without a walk and 17 without an earned run.

ESCOBAR CLOSE: SS Yunel Escobar, out since July 14 with right hamstring tightness, looked good in a pregame workout and will have the chance to talk his way into tonight's lineup. "If he can convince me that he's perfect, that he's well and can do this, he probably will play," Maddon said. "If there's any kind of trepidation whatsoever we probably will take another day for him." The Rays waited to see Escobar work out before sending INF Ryan Roberts back to Triple-A Durham given Loney's return from paternity leave.

MYERS OUT: Rookie OF Wil Myers was out of the lineup due to left wrist soreness — the result of a slide — but hopes to return tonight. Myers said he first hurt the wrist on a slide during the July 8-11 Minnesota series, then did so again Saturday. "It flared up a little more than I would like, so it's just for some precaution," he said.

REHAB REPORT: RHP Brandon Gomes (lat strain) worked a 1-2-3 first inning Saturday in what ended up a 15-inning tie for Class A Charlotte and will work one-plus inning Tuesday for the Stone Crabs, following RHP Alex Cobb, who makes his first rehab start. … There is no update yet on RHP Taylor Guerrieri, who is in Port Charlotte to see team doctors after leaving his last start at Class A Bowling Green with elbow soreness.

MISCELLANY: 3B Evan Longoria hit his 150th career home run and made his first error since May 21, ending a career-best streak of 42 games. … The Rays hit back-to-back homers for the fourth time this season. … RHP Fernando Rodney took over second place on the all-time franchise list with his 72nd save.

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