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Austin Meadows is first Ray to reach 100 RBIs since 2010

Rays notes | Evan Longoria had been the last Ray to reach the milestone; Kiermaier makes an early exit.
Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Austin Meadows (17) swings at a sacrifice fly while Detroit Tigers catcher Eric Haase (13) holds out his glove in the first inning at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Friday, September 17, 2021. Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi (26) scored.
Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Austin Meadows (17) swings at a sacrifice fly while Detroit Tigers catcher Eric Haase (13) holds out his glove in the first inning at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Friday, September 17, 2021. Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi (26) scored. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Sep. 18

ST. PETERSBURG — The runs the Rays scored in the ninth and 10th innings Friday made for a dramatic win against the Tigers and a wild celebration at the Trop.

The run they scored in the first inning made history.

With a sac fly that scored Ji-Man Choi, outfielder/DH Austin Meadows recorded his 100th RBI of the season, the sixth Ray to reach that mark in their 24-season franchise history and the first since Evan Longoria in 2010.

“That is a very big milestone,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “There were a lot of hugs and high-fives when he got it.

“Getting 100 RBIs is pretty special. And, you know what, it’s pretty special on this team where we utilize a full roster. You’re not sitting out there getting 600 at-bats all the time; we’re utilizing the entire roster. So Meadows has made a lot of those big hits count for him.’’

Of Meadows’ 100 RBIs, 42 have either tied a game or given the Rays a lead.

The five Rays to previously reach 100 RBIs, a total of 10 times: Fred McGriff (1999, 2000); Aubrey Huff (2003, 2004); Jorge Cantu (2005); Carlos Pena (2007, 2008, 2009); and Longoria (2009, 2010).

Kiermaier makes early exit

Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier struck out his first two times up and didn’t look good doing so. Then he made an unexpected early departure in the sixth inning, when Cash pinch-hit for him with right-handed-hitting Manuel Margot against righty reliever Drew Hutchison. The team said Kiermaier was not injured, Cash said, however, he was not feeling well. “KK has been under the weather; he’s been scuffling a little bit, just not feeling well,’’ Cash said. “Just felt like at that point ... let’s get him out of the ballgame. But we’ll continue to check on him.’’

Yarbrough eyeing rebound

Lefty Ryan Yarbrough has some ideas of what has led to him making back-to-back miserable outings, such as the shape and velocity of his cutter being off, and too much focus on a slight change to his delivery. He is very clear in knowing something has to change when he starts Saturday. “At this point, it’s just a matter of making adjustments,’’ he said. “You can talk a big game. When these last couple ones in a row have just been downright terrible, there’s no way of sugarcoating around it. So just a matter of getting back on track and getting back to business.’’ Between his Sept. 6 start at Boston and his Monday relief outing in Toronto, Yarbrough lasted only 4⅓ innings, allowing 14 runs on 18 hits and three walks. He threw 141 pitches to get the 13 outs. He allowed 22 of the 35 batters he faced to reach.

Miscellany

• Rookie shortstop Wander Franco had another impressive day rehabbing his previously strained right hamstring, hitting on the field, taking ground balls hit at him and running the arc behind the infield. He is eligible to be reinstated Tuesday, and Cash said “if the progression continues like this, I don’t see it being much beyond that.’’

• DH Nelson Cruz did not play as he was still sore and receiving treatment on his right forearm, which was hit by a pitch Thursday.

• The crowd of 16,451 was the biggest at the Trop since Aug. 22 and the sixth largest of the season.

• As part of Roberto Clemente Day activities, award nominees Yarbrough and Cruz (the Twins selection before the trade to the Rays) were honored.

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