Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays hang on to beat Blue Jays

TORONTO — With all Fernando Rodney did Tuesday, he figured he might as well aim high.

So after getting the final five outs in another tougher-than-it-needed-to-be 4-3 win over the Blue Jays, he took full aim at the top of the Rogers Centre with his imaginary celebratory arrow.

"Right through the roof," Rodney said. "You going to see (today) in the newspaper, when you wake up, you're going to see the hole."

Rodney basically had to save the Rays twice even though they took a comfortable early lead, got a solid six-plus-inning start from Alex Cobb and made a handful of dazzling defensive plays.

And still …

Rodney came in in relief of Joel Peralta with the bases loaded in the eighth — after substitute second baseman Ryan Roberts booted a double play ball — to face J.P. Arencibia, who beat him with a homer May 6, and got another ground ball to Roberts for an inning-ending double play.

Then he battled through a tense ninth that included a one-out ground rule double on a 101-mph fastball, a run-scoring wild pitch and a two-out walk to the No. 9 hitter before striking out Melky Cabrera, with the dangerous duo of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion looming, to get his first five-out save of the season.

"That's a part of the game, you help me out today, I help you out tomorrow," Rodney said. "That's why you keep your head up and keep going."

The Rays (24-21) had a lot to hold their heads up about, Cobb posting his seventh quality start in nine outings, Kelly Johnson and Desmond Jennings making highlight plays then hitting homers, Evan Longoria and James Loney each getting two more hits.

Plus shortstop Yunel Escobar made a series of key plays, including an athletic turn on the key eighth-inning double play.

"I really think Escobar's game was outstanding at shortstop," manager Joe Maddon said. "That was a big part of our win."

Cobb said it was probably his "worst stuff-wise game," specifically his lack of a good changeup, but he battled into the seventh, lifted after 107 pitches with Maddon saying he looked fatigued. "When you have a quality outing without your best stuff you're very pleased with that," said Cobb, now an impressive 5-2, 2.73.

Peralta has been the most consistent of the Rays relievers, but he didn't start well in the eighth with a 4-1 lead. He gave up a single to No. 9 hitter Munenori Kawasaki then walked Cabrera, bringing up Bautista and Encarnacion. He went 1-for-2, giving up a hard single to right to Bautista that made it 4-2 and striking out Encarnacion.

Still, he looked to be out of it when Adam Lind hit the grounder he wanted, but Roberts — who took over at second an inning earlier when Matt Joyce left with hamstring tightness — booted it so badly the Rays didn't even get one out.

Maddon went to Rodney against Arencibia, figuring he had the best chance to get the ground ball, and Rodney won this battle, with Roberts making the play this time.

The ninth was eventful too, but Rodney got through it for his ninth save and a big arrow shot.

"I got a chance tonight to do it," he said. "And I feel great."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Without getting into specifics – especially the who and the where – Rays officials are for the first time talking optimistically about making a trade before the winter meetings end Thursday.Speaking at around 5:15, senior VP Chaim Bloom s...
Published: 12/13/17

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Published: 12/13/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

UPDATE, 5:55: Trade talks apparently picked up this afternoon, perhaps related to previous activity by other teams, and for first time Rays officials sound like something could happen tonight."At this point today, some of those conversations are movi...
Published: 12/13/17
Market starting to set itself as Rays’ trade talks intensify

Market starting to set itself as Rays’ trade talks intensify

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Alex Colome claimed he was just showing good social media manners Tuesday night in following four Cardinals-related Instagram accounts since they were saying nice things about him.In doing so, whether for that reason or another mor...
Published: 12/13/17
Alex Corddry won’t be back on Tampa Bay Rays telecasts

Alex Corddry won’t be back on Tampa Bay Rays telecasts

Alex Corddry won't be back on Fox Sports Sun's Tampa Bay Rays telecasts.Corddry completed a one-year contract with Fox, serving as the pre-, post- and in-game reporter.  She also covers college football for ESPN and does freelance work in the Wa...
Published: 12/13/17
Is Alex Colome telling us something about Rays’ plans with his Instagram account?

Is Alex Colome telling us something about Rays’ plans with his Instagram account?

UPDATE, 9:22: So, Colome says he was just using good social media manners, tweeting (at 4:15) this morning:"I keep getting nice messages and tags from those accounts, so I gave them a follow"And, keeping his emoji game strong, adding one with arms up...
Published: 12/13/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Should the Rays go full fire-sale mode?

Rick and Tom podcast: Should the Rays go full fire-sale mode?

As baseball’s hot stove starts heating up, should the Rays go full fire sale to build for the future?In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether the Rays should trade guys like Evan Longoria, Chris Archer, Alex Colome and more,...
Published: 12/13/17
Canseco’s tweets about sexual misconduct could jeopardize job on A’s telecasts

Canseco’s tweets about sexual misconduct could jeopardize job on A’s telecasts

LAKE BUENA VISTA — A series of tweets by former Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Oakland Athletics slugger Jose Canseco about sexual misconduct and politicians could put in jeopardy his job as a studio analyst on A’s telecasts. Canseco posted several times ...
Published: 12/13/17