Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays rally, take two of three from Astros

HOUSTON — For Jerry Sands, the third broken bat was the charm Sunday.

And the Rays infielder didn't crack under the pressure.

Sands, 26, pinch-hitting with two on and no outs in the eighth inning, broke two bats on foul balls against Astros reliever Jerome Williams in working a 3-and-2 count. Then Sands delivered a — surprise — broken-bat single to left, breaking a tie and lifting the Rays to a 4-3 win at Minute Maid Park. It was Sands' first career go-ahead hit.

"It was pretty crazy," Sands said. "I don't think I've ever broken two in one at-bat, but three in three consecutive swings, it's pretty crazy."

The Rays (27-43), winners of three of four, clinched their first series win since May 23-25 against Boston. They hope to carry the momentum into a 10-game homestand that begins tonight against the Orioles.

"It's huge, jeez," said ace lefty David Price, who won for the first time in six starts since May 13 in Seattle. "It's been a while. I didn't remember my last win until about five minutes ago, think it was like three road trips ago. It's been rough. That was big. Hopefully it can get us going in the right direction."

It didn't look good early, as Price allowed two home runs — giving him an American League-high 15 — in the first four batters he faced.

But Price, as he has recently, settled in, allowing two hits after the third in a strong eight-inning outing, striking out 10 and walking none in giving the Rays enough time to strike back. It was Price's 20th career double-digit strikeout game, breaking James Shields' club record.

"I think historically, I've seen a lot of really good pitchers that if you don't get them early, you don't get them," manager Joe Maddon said.

Maddon thought the Rays should have gotten to righty Brad Peacock early. They had chances but couldn't capitalize and left 12 on base overall.

After the Rays scored just once in a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the second, Yunel Escobar — who snapped an 0-for-14 slump with two hits — hit a ball to the left-centerfield wall in the fourth that centerfielder Dexter Fowler dived for and missed. Escobar cruised into second with an RBI double, but Maddon said he was "absolutely surprised" the shortstop didn't get a triple.

"He should have been at third base," Maddon said.

Escobar, who ended up stranded at third, was unavailable for comment. Asked if his concern was addressed, Maddon said, "Internal affairs."

Escobar seemed to get the message, hustling from first to third in the sixth on a Jose Molina single, helping set up the tying run. Desmond Jennings appeared to hit into an inning-ending double play, but Maddon challenged the out call at first, and it was overturned, allowing Escobar to score.

Meanwhile, Sands stayed ready, having gone 1-for-9 with five strikeouts since getting called up two weeks ago. Sands said he had to "dig deep" to find another bat before getting jammed with a Williams pitch, using his 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame to lift it into left.

Joked Sands: "Need to get in a new bat order now."

Comments
Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE – Two things that tell you a lot about Rays cocksure top prospect Brent Honeywell given Friday's crushing news that he indeed tore a ligament in his prized right arm and is headed for Tommy John surgery that will sideline him wel...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rasmus says he ditched Rays to spend time with family

Rasmus says he ditched Rays to spend time with family

SARASOTA — Colby Rasmus is making a new start with the Baltimore Orioles after taking an eight-month break from baseball.Rasmus signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles this week, after abruptly leaving the Rays in midseason. The contrac...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays open exhibition season with 6-3 win over Pirates

Rays open exhibition season with 6-3 win over Pirates

The Rays won the home game of their opening-day, split-squad set, beating the Pirates, 6-3.1B Brad Miller, with an opposite-field double off the wall, and CF Kevin Kiermaier, with a bloop single to shallow center, provided the early offense.2B Daniel...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays journal: Miller time could be a good time, and more from openers

Rays journal: Miller time could be a good time, and more from openers

PORT CHARLOTTE — One of the key story lines in Rays camp is seeing what kind of bounce-back season they can get out of a healthy Brad Miller, coming off October core muscle repair surgery.And while Miller isn't feeling 100 percent — he st...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Split-squad Rays hold on for 6-3 win at Orioles

Split-squad Rays hold on for 6-3 win at Orioles

SARASOTA — A split-squad team of Rays held on for a 6-3 victory Friday against the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium.Yonny Chirinos, making his debut as a Ray, tossed a pair of scoreless innings. He allowed an infield single to former Ray Tim Beckham...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Live blog: Rays open spring training season against Pirates, Orioles

Live blog: Rays open spring training season against Pirates, Orioles

The Rays open the exhibition season with not one, but two games today.Non-roster pitcher Vidal Nuno will start against the Pirates at 1:05 p.m. in Port Charlotte. Denard Span, Matt Duffy, Kevin Kiermaier, Wilson Ramos, Mallex Smith and Adeiny Hechava...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Rays’ Honeywell has torn UCL, headed for Tommy John surgery

Rays’ Honeywell has torn UCL, headed for Tommy John surgery

The Rays got the worst-case news they were dreading, that top prospect RHP Brent Honeywell has a torn UCL and is headed for Tommy John  surgery.Honeywell said he plans to have the surgery as soon as possible to expedite his return sometime in th...
Published: 02/23/18
For starters: Split squad opener for Rays – vs. Pirates and at Orioles, 1:05

For starters: Split squad opener for Rays – vs. Pirates and at Orioles, 1:05

With 15 teams training in Florida,  there usually has to be either be at least one team off or one team playing two games. And with today the official opening day of spring training, the Rays had the bad draw of having to play split squad games....
Published: 02/23/18
Rays spring training info: Friday – vs. Pirates and at Orioles

Rays spring training info: Friday – vs. Pirates and at Orioles

Friday's games:Vs. Pirates1:05, Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte. Pitchers: Rays – LH Vidal Nuno; Pirates – RH Taylor Eppler.Radio: raysbaseball.com, MLB At Bat app (free with mlb.com account)Tickets: raysbasebal...
Published: 02/23/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays holding their breath

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays holding their breath

Rays top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell left practice Thursday after throwing a handful of pitches, and the fear (now confirmed) is he might need Tommy John surgery, ending his season before it begins.In his lastest podcast, Rick Stroud has the la...
Published: 02/23/18