HOUSTON — David Peralta was excited to get his first big-league hit on June 1, 2014, when he finally was called up after an eight-year-plus odyssey through the minor, independent and winter ball leagues.
On Saturday, he got his 1,000th, on an infield single in the sixth inning against Astros starter Cristian Javier, to become the 1,362nd player to reach the milestone.
“The game didn’t turn out how we wanted (a 2-1 loss), but this is a special day for me for sure,” said Peralta, 35. “As soon as I got that base hit, I got flashbacks, all that I went through, my first base hit in the big leagues. and now I’m still here and getting 1,000 hits. It’s unbelievable. It’s hard, not in a bad way, to process because I’m still shocked that it happened.”
Peralta, acquired at the trade deadline from Arizona, where he had spent his entire career, went into play Saturday two hits shy of the milestone. He had the benefit of manager Kevin Cash putting him in the leadoff spot to get a chance to get to the plate more, though he had the pressure of having told his wife, family and friends he was going to get it Saturday.
“So first at-bat strikeout I’m like, ‘Oh boy,’” Peralta said. “But I’m like, ‘No, I’m gonna do it.’ So I got my first one then I got the second one. You’ve got to stay positive.”
The Rays expect to have postseason T-shirt and caps for purchase at the Tropicana Field team store by midweek, given some shipping delays related to Hurricane Ian. The store, which was closed due to the storm, will re-open Monday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, 10-4 Saturday. Merchandise is also available via TheBayRepublic.com. ... Tickets for potential wild-card and division series home games will go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday via raysbaseball.com, with pre-sales for season members, group leaders and Rays Insiders.
Caution with Yandy Diaz
Yandy Diaz was limited to pinch-hitting duties Saturday, delivering an RBI single in the ninth. That is a precautionary move as he felt some soreness in his cranky left shoulder in the final at-bat of his impressive Friday return, rapping three hits in his first start since Sept. 19. Diaz and Cash said that will be the balance over the rest of the regular season to have him ready and available for the playoffs.
“I still feel a little discomfort but I think I’m still gonna be good,” Diaz said, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “I think I’ll have to maintain it and manage it all the way up until the end of the season, or the end of the World Series, and then kind of take care of it in the offseason (with rest).” Diaz got one cortisone shot but is “a little scared” and won’t get another.
East division champion Durham faced Nashville (Brewers) late Saturday in Las Vegas for the Triple-A International League championship, with the winner advancing to Sunday night’s national championship game against Reno (Diamondbacks). … Reliever Brooks Raley, who spent the previous two seasons with Houston, chatted with Astros manager Dusty Baker and received his sparkly 2021 American League championship ring, which came in a lighted box. ... Corey Kluber on Sunday makes his team-leading 31st start, his most since 2018 after three injury-shortened seasons. “That’s always the goal. But obviously wasn’t a given coming in to the year based on how the last couple have gone,” he said. “So I think (it was) a lot of time and effort on my part and on the training staff’s part to be able to take the ball each time out.” ... The Rays are the first AL team in the expansion era (since 1961) to clinch a postseason berth during a road trip of nine or more games to end the season. The 1966 Dodgers, 1971 Giants and 1995 Reds also did so.
• • •
Sign up for the Rays Report weekly newsletter to get fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.