Thursday, April 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays beat Astros in 11

HOUSTON — Rays manager Joe Maddon believes Yunel Escobar is "definitely an All-Star-cali­ber player and absolutely a Gold Glove-caliber player."

"I'd like to see a shortstop that is playing better than he is this year," Maddon said Thursday.

You won't hear any arguments from the Astros, who watched Escobar make several dazzling defensive plays in this week's series against the Rays, then beat them with his glove and bat during the Rays' 7-5 11-inning win on the Fourth of July.

"He had a heck of a day," Maddon said.

Escobar matched his season highs with three hits and three RBIs, including a two-run double in the eighth that gave Tampa Bay a 5-2 lead. And after veteran reliever Joel Peralta gave the lead right back in the bottom half of the inning on Brett Wallace's three-run homer, Escobar thwarted the Astros' rally by making a spectacular snag and an offbalance throw to start a double play.

Escobar then ensured the Rays wouldn't head home with a deflating defeat, hitting the go-ahead double in the 11th.

"It's definitely a big win," Escobar said, with bench coach Dave Martinez interpreting, "a win that could uplift the team for the games to come."

Maddon admitted he was scoreboard watching, and as American League East rivals the Red Sox and Yankees continued to win, it was crucial for Tampa Bay (46-40) to take at least three of four from the AL-worst Astros (31-54), who "gave us all we can handle."

"Everybody in the dugout was talking about it," rookie rightfielder Wil Myers said. "Everybody knew we needed to win this game. It was a huge."

Rays right-hander Chris Archer said the game was "kind of like the definition of the Rays. … We pitched pretty well. We scored runs when we needed to, and we played defense all night."

They got a solid start from Archer, who was a better strike-thrower and more efficient in six innings, allowing just two runs and two hits. They made several impressive defensive plays, including a sliding catch and a diving catch by Myers in the first, and Escobar's dash to his right to start the eighth-inning double play.

They had timely hitting, including Desmond Jennings' two doubles and Myers' double in the eighth. After Kelly Johnson was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out in the eighth, Jose Lobaton knocked in the go-ahead run for a 3-2 lead with a fielder's choice, hustling up the line so there was no double play.

"That was absolutely huge," Maddon said.

Escobar followed with the two-out, two-run double off the hill in deep center.

Peralta gave it all back in the bottom half. Maddon said his outing likely would have gone smoothly had he not walked the No. 9 hitter, Jake Elmore, to start the inning. A bloop single and a three-run homer later, the score was tied at 5. Peralta declined to comment after the game.

"Joel is fantastic," Maddon said. "That's just a bad moment for him, but we did bounce back."

Escobar made sure of that, continuing to pick up his offensive game since his early season slump while providing dependable defense (42 straight errorless games). Escobar said he was happy to hear Maddon saying he should be an All-Star. He said his comfort in the Rays' environment is a reason he is thriving.

"I just go out there and try to play the game and have fun," said Escobar, who scored the seventh run on a wild pitch. "This is the first time in my career I really feel like I'm having fun and can be myself."

   
Comments
Donít call it a comeback: Jonny Venters return to majors with Rays much more than that

Donít call it a comeback: Jonny Venters return to majors with Rays much more than that

BALTIMORE — First, think of what you were doing on Oct. 5, 2012, and how much has happened in your own world since then.That will give you a time frame.Next, think of the challenge of rehabbing from two Tommy John surgeries and a third procedur...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays Journal: An 8-4 win over ex-mate Cobb in a record way, Venters context, Duffy update

Rays Journal: An 8-4 win over ex-mate Cobb in a record way, Venters context, Duffy update

BALTIMORE – The Rays knew there would be mixed feelings for all parties with longtime former teammate Alex Cobb pitching against them in Orioles orange.Then they made sure he didn't enjoy it.The Rays knocked Cobb out in a messy fifth Wednesday,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays bring Jonny Venters back to majors

Rays bring Jonny Venters back to majors

UPDATE, 5:34: Venters, understandably, was humbled and happy to make it back. "It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling," he said. "It's been an emotional day."Venters was in uniform in the Durham clubhouse during rain delay when he got called in ...
Published: 04/25/18
For starters: Rays at Orioles, weather permitting (again)

For starters: Rays at Orioles, weather permitting (again)

The Rays and Orioles are going to try again to play tonight, though the tarp was on the field this afternoon and a light rain falling with heavier precipitation expected later.The Rays, who called up veteran reliever Jonny Venters this afternoon, are...
Published: 04/25/18
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-...
Published: 04/25/18
Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sundayís epic walkoff homer celebration

Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sundayís 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...
Published: 04/24/18
Updated: 04/25/18
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