TORONTO — Well before Saturday’s game turned, Travis d’Arnaud looked to be headed for the main headline once again.
Acquired from the Dodgers in May, when the Rays were desperate for catching help, for the bargain price of $100,000, the former Mets starter continued his remarkable run for Tampa Bay.
After Willy Adames hit a three-run homer in the second against the Blue Jays, d’Arnaud did the same as the Rays built what was eventually a 9-2 lead.
“They did a good job,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “Look, offensively, you can’t ask for much more. I mean, you score nine runs, you expect to win.’’
With Saturday’s blast, d’Arnaud has a whopping seven homers and 21 RBIs in 17 July games, with a .323 average. And 12 homers and 35 RBIs in his past 33 games with the Rays.
Though d’Arnaud started his 11th game at first base on Saturday, the Rays consider his primary position to be catcher. Thus, they announced his seven July homers and 21 RBIs as team records for catchers in any month, surpassing the six homers by Curt Casali in July 2015 and J.P. Arencibia in September 2015. D’Arnaud had already broken the RBI mark held by John Flaherty, 17 in May 1999.
Plus, the Rays noted he is one homer shy of the overall team record for home runs in July, shared by Carlos Pena (2007), Aubrey Huff (2004, 2005) and Gerald Williams (2000).
D’Arnaud’s 21 RBIs are the most by any Rays player in any calendar month since Logan Morrison (22) in May 2017, and the most by any Rays player in July since Ben Zobrist (21) in 2011.
While d’Arnaud stayed hot, Adames had to enjoy coming in from the cold.
He had been homerless for a month while piling up the most strikeouts in the majors over that span (38 in 24 games), and he came into Saturday 1-for-his-last 16. Adames is hitting .237 and has 11 homers on the season, 10 on the road.
Perez sent back down, Faria expected back
Catcher Michael Perez was excited to get called back up Friday, having been sidelined in early May with an oblique strain and then optioned to Triple-A Durham when he fully recovered in June.
But his stay with the Rays was short, as he was optioned down after the game so the team could add a fresh arm to the bullpen, most likely right-hander Jake Faria.
About Friday night
The Rays didn’t have much to say about Friday’s somewhat controversial play except they were glad it worked in their favor. The Jays looked to score two runs in the fourth after Freddy Galvis doubled with men on first and second and the ball bounced a few times, then off leftfielder Tommy Pham’s glove and into the stands. But after consultation with the replay crew, the umpires ruled the second runner, Randal Grichuk, was entitled to only two bases and had to go back to third, their ruling based on determining Pham didn’t knock the ball into the stands intentionally. Jays manager Charlie Montoyo, the former Rays coach, wasn’t pleased with the outcome and poked a little fun at his ex-mates for working on that play. “Yeah, I’m going to talk to Cash about it, because they always come up with new things, you know the Rays,’’ he said. “The opener, now (this).’’
Medical matters: Garcia, Kiermaier, Robertson, Banda
Avisail Garcia left Saturday’s game after batting in the fourth for what the team said was illness, with the hope he feels good enough to return today. Mike Brosseau moved from second base to take Garcia’s place in right, and Joey Wendle took over at second. … Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier (left thumb sprain) went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts at DH as he began a short rehab assignment for advanced Class A Charlotte on Saturday in Clearwater. He’s slated to play nine innings in centerfield today and looks to be on track to be reinstated from the injured list when eligible on Wednesday. … Infielder Daniel Robertson (right knee surgery) moved his rehab to Triple-A Durham and went 1-for-3 with a home run, playing nine innings at short. … Lefty Anthony Banda (Tommy John surgery) is approaching the end of his rehab assignment, having gone 0-1, 5.19 since moving up to Durham, and is an option to help at some point this season, likely ahead of Jose De Leon, who is 1-1, 3.47 in 12 games with the Bulls.
* The Rays are 3-8 in extra innings.
* Andrew Kittredge gave them a solid opener performance, working three innings and striking out seven.
* Outfielder Austin Meadows had two singles and is hitting .455 (15-for-33) in eight games against the Jays.
Contact Marc Topkin at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.