ST. PETERSBURG — SS Adeiny Hechavarria was asked if he practiced making spectacular plays like the one in the fifth inning Saturday, when he dived to his left, knocked the ball down, picked it up barehanded, stood and threw to first for the out.
"No, no, no," he said.
Hechavarria, who joined the Rays on June 27, said he has made them before. He said he was somewhat surprised this time since he recently switched to using a smaller glove.
His acrobatics robbed Red Sox C Sandy Leon of a hit to end the fifth inning of the Rays' 1-0 victory. He robbed DH Hanley Ramirez of a hit to start the second when he made a leaping grab of a line drive headed to leftfield.
"They don't get made. It's not real," winning pitcher Alex Cobb said of the two plays. "When you're on the mound you just feel like you hit the lotto."
Cobb said the plays are worth more than the one out on the scoreboard. They create momentum and enable the pitcher to pitch deeper into the game. They also demoralize the other dugout.
"Oh man, you can see the emotion on their faces," he said. "It's hard to get a hit in the big leagues. You see it off the bat. You see where it's going, and it's taken away from you in the blink of an eye. It's a little tough to handle."
Cutting it close
RHP Alex Colome tied Minnesota's Brandon Kintzler for the AL lead with his 24th save when he picked up the final four outs and survived a bases-loaded jam in the ninth. It was Colome's second straight scoreless outing after allowing runs in five straight. Colome relied mostly on his cutter, a pitch he has thrown nearly 60 percent of the time this season at the expense of his fastball. "They look like the same," he said. "I use both, but I like to use more cutter than fastball because everybody hits fastball."
RHP Chris Archer and former Rays LHP David Price pitch against each other today for the second time since Price was traded in 2014. The first meeting, billed as "the teacher vs. the student," didn't go so well for Archer. He tied a career high with nine runs allowed in a 10-8 loss on Sept. 26, 2015 — his 27th birthday — when Price was with the Blue Jays.
"I'm obviously focused on the lineup, but to be able to face off against the teacher is always fun," Archer said.
Archer always credits Price and James Shields for his development. "It's like Shields was the grandpa, Price was the dad and I'm one of the sons in the tree," he said. "Cobb definitely is, too. Matt Moore is a part of that group."
He continued: "Price is getting kind of old. He might move into the grandpa role soon. He's what, 31, 32? (He's 31.) When Shields (retires) in a couple of years, Price is going to be grandpa for real."
. C Jesus Sucre became the first Rays catcher to drive in the only run of a 1-0 victory since Ryan Hanigan homered Sept. 12, 2014 to beat Toronto.
. The Rays will reach the All-Star Break with a winning record for the eighth time in the past 10 seasons.