Monday, June 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Peña blocked from catching popup by former NBA player Matt Geiger; fan support at home up; homerless string

Block of the game

Retired NBA center Matt Geiger, a former Countryside High star, racked up more than 3,000 rebounds in his 10-year career. And the 7-footer boxed out 1B Carlos Peña in the eighth inning against the Twins, deflecting what could have been a pop out away from Peña's outstretched glove. Peña reached into the stands along the first-base line for a Josh Willingham popup. Geiger, seated near the front row, reached, too, and the ball bounced off him. The 42-year-old was booed heavily and relocated by security; he was allowed to return to his seat if he wished, the Rays said. The ball wasn't in play. Peña quipped, "He blocked me; one of many in his career."

On deck

Today: Off

Tuesday: vs. Angels, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — David Price (2-1, 4.20); Angels — Ervin Santana (0-3, 6.75)

Wednesday: vs. Angels, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 3.26); Angels — C.J. Wilson (2-1, 2.37)

Crowd control

The Rays have drawn 175,613 through the first six home games, more than 66,000 more than they drew in the first six home games last year (108,701). It should be noted that this year's six fell on Friday through Sunday, and three of the six last year were Tuesday-Thursday. The Rays have felt the support. Manager Joe Maddon said it was "pro Ray." LHP David Price said on Twitter: "The atmosphere at the trop has been unreal this year!!!! Thank you fans keep it coming!! We feed off of all of you!!!"

Numbers of the day

.083 Batting average of opponents against Rays reliever Fernando Rodney this year (2-for-24).

43 Innings since Rays pitchers have given up a homer, dating to April 18 against Toronto, a stretch that is the team's longest since October 2010 (59⅓ innings).

Award of the day

The Rays honored C/OF Stephen Vogt with their Al Lopez Award, given to the team's top rookie in spring training. Vogt was optioned to Triple-A Durham on Friday, so Al Lopez III and Al Lopez IV presented the award to director of minor-league operations Mitch Lukevics on Vogt's behalf.

First pitch of the day

Twins great and 1964 AL rookie of the year Tony Oliva threw out the ceremonial first pitch Sunday. The eight-time All-Star was here for his induction into the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Rays 6, Twins 2

Minnesota AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Span cf 3 1 1 0 1 0 .328

J.Carroll ss 4 1 2 0 0 0 .246

Mauer c 4 0 0 0 0 1 .295

Willingham lf 2 0 0 0 1 0 .328

Morneau dh 4 0 0 0 0 1 .250

Parmelee 1b 2 0 0 0 0 1 .275

a-Doumit ph-1b 2 0 1 2 0 0 .222

Valencia 3b 4 0 0 0 0 2 .218

C.Thomas rf 4 0 1 0 0 3 .190

A.Casilla 2b 3 0 0 0 0 2 .227

Totals 32 2 5 2 2 10

Tampa Bay AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Jennings lf 3 1 1 3 0 1 .262

Zobrist rf 3 0 0 1 0 2 .189

C.Pena 1b 2 1 0 0 2 1 .304

Longoria 3b 3 1 2 0 1 1 .339

Keppinger dh 4 0 0 0 0 0 .196

B.Upton cf 2 0 0 2 0 0 .250

S.Rodriguez ss 3 1 1 0 1 1 .214

Gimenez c 2 1 1 0 1 1 .385

E.Johnson 2b 2 1 0 0 0 1 .091

Totals 24 6 5 6 5 8

Minnesota 000 002 000— 2 5 0

Tampa Bay 002 120 01x— 6 5 1

a-singled for Parmelee in the 6th.

EC.Pena (1). LOBMin. 6, T.B. 4. 2BLongoria (6). HRJennings (2), off Liriano. RBIsDoumit 2 (8), Jennings 3 (7), Zobrist (7), B.Upton 2 (4). SBSpan (3), Longoria (1), E.Johnson (2). SFJennings, Zobrist, B.Upton 2. RISPMin. 4; T.B. 2. DPMin. 1; T.B. 1.

Minnesota IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA

Liriano L, 0-3 5 3 5 5 4 4 86 11.02

Swarzak 2 1 0 0 0 3 27 5.94

Perkins 1 1 1 1 1 1 20 8.53

Tampa Bay IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA

Niemnn W, 1-2 5L3 2 2 2 5 80 4.11

McGee H, 1L0 0 0 0 1 6 6.00

W.Davis H, 1 1L1 0 0 0 1 16 2.35

Jo.Peralta H, 3 1 1 0 0 0 1 14 11.12

Rodney 1 0 0 0 0 2 13 1.23

HBPby Liriano (E.Johnson), by Niemann (Willingham). PBMauer.T2:54. A26,507 (34,078).

How they scored

Rays third.

S.Rodriguez walked. Gimenez walked on four pitches, S.Rodriguez to second. E.Johnson was hit by a pitch, S.Rodriguez to third, Gimenez to second. Jennings hit a sacrifice fly to center fielder Span, S.Rodriguez scored, Gimenez to third. E.Johnson stole second. Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly to left fielder Willingham, Gimenez scored. C.Pena struck out. 2 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rays 2, Twins 0.

Rays fourth. Longoria doubled to left. Keppinger fouled out to right fielder C.Thomas, Longoria to third. B.Upton hit a sacrifice fly to left fielder Willingham, Longoria scored. S.Rodriguez grounded out, shortstop J.Carroll to first baseman Parmelee. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left on. Rays 3, Twins 0.

Rays fifth. Gimenez singled to left. E.Johnson grounded into fielder's choice, pitcher Liriano to shortstop J.Carroll, Gimenez out. Jennings homered to left on a 0-1 count, E.Johnson scored. Zobrist struck out. C.Pena walked. Longoria struck out. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rays 5, Twins 0.

Twins sixth. Span singled to right. J.Carroll singled to center, Span to third. Mauer popped out to third baseman Longoria. Willingham was hit by a pitch, J.Carroll to second. McGee pitching. Morneau struck out. Doumit pinch-hitting for Parmelee. W.Davis pitching. Doumit singled to center, Span scored, J.Carroll scored, Willingham to second. Valencia grounded into fielder's choice, shortstop S.Rodriguez to third baseman Longoria, Willingham out, Doumit to second. 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. Rays 5, Twins 2.

Rays eighth. Perkins pitching. C.Pena walked. On Mauer's passed ball, C.Pena to second. Longoria singled to center, C.Pena to third. Keppinger flied out to center fielder Span. B.Upton hit a sacrifice fly to right fielder C.Thomas, C.Pena scored. Longoria stole second. S.Rodriguez struck out. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rays 6, Twins 2.

Comments
Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

NEW YORK — The Adeiny Hechavarria situation is going to be interesting for the Rays. The veteran seemed destined to be traded or even released as he completed his recovery from a hamstring strain rather than play again for the Rays after last ...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

UPDATE, 11:37: Interesting decision by the Rays to move Adames to 2B today and reinstall Hechavarria at SS as he came off DL following Arroyo injury.Here is the Rays lineup:Duffy 3bBauers 1bRamos cCron dhAdames 2bHechavarria ssGomez rfRefsnyder lfFie...
Published: 06/17/18
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Published: 06/16/18
Updated: 06/17/18
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Published: 06/16/18
Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

NEW YORK — Just when it seemed like SS Adeiny Hechavarria might not play another game for the Rays, he will rejoin them on Sunday.The Rays announced after Saturday's 4-1 loss that INF Christian Arroyo was placed on the DL due to an oblique stra...
Published: 06/16/18
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Yankees

RHP Ryne Stanek did his job as the opener just fine in getting four outs on Saturday, but for the Rays' unorthodox pitching plan to work it takes a team effort. And LHP Ryan Yarbrough's inability to throw strikes quickly put them in a hole.The experi...
Published: 06/16/18
For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

UPDATE, 11:49: Cash said he played Cron at 1B in an effort to get him more involved in the game, indicated he may do so again Sunday (with Bauers off vs. LH Sabathia) and should have done so more as Cron struggled. … Cash reiterated that CF Kev...
Published: 06/16/18
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

NEW YORK — So what does the boss — lowercase, of course, around here — think of this up-and-down, hot-and-cold Rays season so far? Appropriately, a variety of things.In a 30-minute chat with the Tampa Bay Times before Friday's 5-0 l...
Published: 06/15/18
Rays journal: Nathan Eovaldi pitches well against his ex-team but gets no help

Rays journal: Nathan Eovaldi pitches well against his ex-team but gets no help

NEW YORK — RHP Nathan Eovaldi made an impressive return to Yankee Stadium on Friday to face his high-powered former teammates.It's too bad he didn't get any help from his current mates, in what ended up a 5-0 Rays loss.Eovaldi was in command an...
Published: 06/15/18
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Give RHP Nathan Eovaldi credit for not letting emotions get in the way in his return to Yankee Stadium. He said he planned to treat it as all business, despite memories and friendships and he did just that, working impressively into the eighth.The Ra...
Published: 06/15/18