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Five things you didn’t know from Tampa Bay Rays 8-7 win over Los Angeles Dodgers

On Emilio Pagan’s prognosticating prowess, Pete Fairbanks’ colorful celebration, Tommy Pham’s good fortune (and good hitting).
Tampa Bay Rays' Austin Meadows, left, is congratulated by Avisail Garcia after hitting a solo home run during the 11th inning of the team's baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Rays won 8-7. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) [MARK J. TERRILL | AP]
Published Sep. 19

Five things you didn’t know about the Rays’ Wednesday win over Dodgers:

Emilio Pagan predicted the ninth-inning comeback

After giving up a homer in the eighth to extend the Dodgers lead to 6-4, Pagan came back to the dugout with something of a promise/prediction to Tommy Pham and his mates. "I told Tommy, keep swinging it,'' Pagan said. "Go out and get two, I’ll go out and put up a zero (in the ninth) and we’ll win this game.'' Pham was impressed: "It just shows you what kind of team we have here. Right there for him to say I made a mistake, but pick me up guys and I’ll do my part after.'' Pagan — apparently “Easy E” to his friends — was pretty pleased with his prognosticating, though with one addendum: "If I could do it again, I’d say, “Go out and get three,” so we could save some arms.''

Tommy Pham played the humble guy

In talking about his career-high and team-record tying five-hit night, Pham insisted it wasn’t all his doing. “Anytime you get five hits you need some luck, and I had some luck tonight,'' he said, in becoming the 10th Ray to have five in a game, first since Tim Beckham in July 2016. Pham got some hands-on help from the Rays athletic training staff, as he had an issue with one of his special custom contact lenses just before his 11th inning at-bat, when he eventually doubled and scored what proved to be the decisive run.”I got something in my eye. Usually, when that happens my eye starts burning. I needed some drops to calm it down,'' Pham said. “I was blinking a ton before that pitch. I’m shocked I hit the ball like that.”

Tampa Bay Rays' Austin Meadows hits a solo home run off Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Josh Sborz, left, during the 11th inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Rays won 8-7. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) [MARK J. TERRILL | AP]

Pete Fairbanks was full of adrenaline and emotion

Fairbanks acknowledged as much after closing out the win, as he shared a hug, a chest tap and some words after the final out with catcher Travis d’Arnaud. “You know the stuff that most guys in the NBA do after a normal bucket? It’s like that, but amplified because it actually mattered,'' Fairbanks said. And what they said? “It’s nothing that I’ll be able to let you guys print, I’ll tell you that much,'' he said. "Nothing that will be able to be said without some stars in it.”

Anderson and d’Arnaud did indeed get crossed up

* The Rays gave up what at the time looked to be potentially the decisive run in the sixth inning on an odd-looking play, as catcher Travis d’Arnaud was set up low for a curveball and Nick Anderson instead threw a fastball that looked like it hit d’Arnaud’s left arm before bouncing away, allowing Chris Taylor to race home with go-ahead. It was obviously a cross-up sign-wise between pitcher and catcher, but weirder because manager Kevin Cash said they were using a simple system. "One sign,'' Cash said. "I think shadows or lights or whatever got in the way where he didn’t pick up d’Arnaud.''

The reprieve Choi capitalized on

* Of the 214 pitches Rays hitters saw in scoring eight runs, one of the most pivotal was one Ji-Man Choi didn’t swing at. Trailing 6-4 with two men on and one out, Choi took two cutters from Dodgers relief ace Kenley Jansen to fall behind 0-2. Jansen came back with another low and on the outside edge of the plate. Home plate umpire Adrian Johnson took a step back and started to move his arm like he was going to call strike three, but then paused. Given a reprieve, Choi laced the next pitch to left, not only scoring Pham, but allowing pinch-running speedster Johnny Davis to race first to third, and then he scored, too. "(Choi) and Tommy and obviously Austin, they have professional at-bats,'' Cash said. "They really do. You see Ji-Man lay off tough pitches to get himself a pitch that he can handle.''

Contact Marc Topkin at Follow @TBTimes_Rays


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