Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays end scoreless streak, beat Cardinals

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays were first able to exhale and relax in the fourth inning Wednesday when they broke through and scored an honest-to-goodness run. Four actually.

Then a spectacular leaping, diving — heck, flying — catch by rookie dervish rightfielder Kevin Kiermaier the next inning allowed them to smile.

And after a seven-out save by deposed closer Grant Balfour sealed the 6-3 win over the Cardinals, they launched into a full celebration.

"Outstanding," manager Joe Maddon said. "All of it."

The victory was much needed, just their second in their past 16 games, improving their major-league-worst record to 25-42.

More because they had been shut out in their past three games and 28 innings, then posted three more zeroes Wednesday, for a team-record 31 and counting, when they finally broke through.

Down 3-0, they had two on — after James Loney rolled a ball down third and Ben Zobrist blooped a single — and two outs, and a full count if you are documenting for historical purposes, when Matt Joyce singled sharply to center, scoring both, with help from centerfielder Peter Bourjos misplaying the ball.

"Obviously that's a great feeling to come through and really kick-start the party," Joyce said.

Even better, because he had tweeted a series of inspirational quotes late Tuesday, including one from Dr. Seuss about dealing with troubles, that read in part: "But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"

After two walks loaded the bases, they got two more when Jennings singled to left-center, and their first lead since Saturday as well.

"You know, of course, you're going to (score), but we needed that," Maddon said. "The guys needed that. You could see them relax immediately."

Plus, Maddon said, it should lead to more.

"I want to believe you're going to see some contagion working in the other direction," he said.

The 4-3 lead was immediately in peril as Brad Boxberger, the first of four relievers after starter Erik Bedard lasted only four, loaded the bases with two outs.

But that's when Kiermaier raced to the rescue, with a catch to rob Bourjos that you will see replayed plenty on TV and the web.

"A Superman play," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

First, Kiermaier had to overcome his own adjustment, having shifted a couple of feet toward the rightfield line since it was an 0-and-2 count.

Then he had to battle the tricky Tropicana Field lights, losing the ball momentarily.

Then, there was gravity as he took off in full flight.

"I had to make that catch," Kier­maier said. "I knew I was going to have to lay out for it, and I saw it just in time to know where it was going to be. I made a dive, and I was just happy to see the ball get in the glove. It was a crazy play."

Actually, it was more than that.

"That's the play of the game," Maddon said. "That's pretty much what permitted us to win that game."

That, and a few little things called runs.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]mpabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

 
Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Published: 11/21/17
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE, 8:11: RHP Jose Mujica was an additional addition to the roster, beyond the six previously reported. Mujica, 21, was 14-8, 3.04 ERA in 27 starts between Class-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.So among those left unprotected and potentially ...
Published: 11/20/17
Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Aubrey Huff isn't going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.But at least the former Devil Rays standout has the satisfaction of making the cut to get onto the ballot, one of 19 first-timers up for election this year.Other newcomers with Rays ties are O...
Published: 11/20/17
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17