Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Kevin Kiermaier says mistake was stopping

TORONTO — In retrospect, rookie OF Kevin Kiermaier said, he would have run even harder around third and through the stop sign he saw late from third-base coach Tom Foley in a key ninth-inning situation.

Instead, Kiermaier, running from first on a one-out double, stopped, but too late to get safely back to the bag, costing the Rays a prime opportunity to take the lead before they eventually lost to the Blue Jays 5-4 in the 10th Saturday.

"I just thought I'd really help the team right there and score that go-ahead run," he said. "I was so committed on scoring. I wasn't expecting to have the stop sign there. With my speed, it's just too tough for me to slow down with a full head of steam and get back to the bag."

As Wil Myers was scoring the tying run on James Loney's pinch-hit single, Kiermaier was heading to third, which is where the breakdown occurred. Kiermaier said he saw Foley initially waving him, then looked down to see where the bag was, and when he looked up, Foley threw up his arms to stop him.

Kiermaier said in retrospect he was too aggressive, but Foley disagreed: "Kiermaier did nothing wrong."

If anything, Foley said, he may have tried to stop Kiermaier sooner. But he had to wait to see how LF Melky Cabrera handled the ball, and he didn't expect Cabrera to make a perfect throw behind Kiermaier right to the base. "It was just one of those things," Foley said.

BOXED IN: RHP Brad Boxberger for months seemed to do no wrong, especially against left-handed hitters, who, entering Saturday, had one hit in their past 59 at-bats against him since May 20 and were 6-for-81 overall, with one extra-base hit. But Saturday showed that he can make the same mistakes as any other pitcher, allowing a double to right-handed Edwin Encarnacion, then a crucial two-run homer to lefty-swinging Dioner Navarro, then a double to lefty Colby Rasmus back-to-back-to-back as the Jays took a 4-3 lead in the seventh. "Just not locating the ball," Boxberger said. "It wasn't doing what I wanted it to. It was just one of those days."

DECENT DAY: RHP Jeremy Hellickson was relatively pleased with his 61/3 inning, three-hit, eight-strikeout outing, unhappy primarily with a one-out walk in the third after being ahead 0-and-2 that led to a run. "I've got to put him away," he said. "I can't walk him right there."

TOUGH DAY: LHP Jeff Beliveau said he "wanted to come in and get ahead" of Jose Reyes with a first-pitch cutter in the 10th, noting that LHP Drew Smyly had success with that pitch Friday. But Reyes was ready and delivered the winning hit.

REHAB REPORT: OF David DeJesus (broken left hand) and C Ryan Hanigan (oblique) got through their Friday rehab games okay and were in the lineup again Saturday for advanced Class A Charlotte, DeJesus going 1-for-2 with two walks, Hanigan 0-for-4. Manager Joe Maddon said Hanigan could return "relatively soon" and it was "not impossible" he would join the team this week in Baltimore.

MISCELLANY: INF/OF Ben Zobrist logged his 500th career RBI with his third-inning bunt single. … C Jose Molina returned to the lineup after sitting out the previous four games to rest a sore left knee. … Myers was the DH for the fourth straight game since coming off the DL. Maddon said he will return to the outfield this week. … Among the people sending Smyly congratulatory text messages after his first career complete game Friday were former Tigers teammates Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander. … Smyly, by random draw, won the first pick in the Rays' fantasy football draft, which was to be held Saturday night.

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