Rays Winners Of Six Of Last Eight GamesFollow @Steve_Kinsella1
Tampa, FL – Drew Rasmussen‘s stinginess continued as the Tampa Bay Rays bounced back from a disheartening loss Friday night to defeat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Saturday afternoon in front of 19,800 fans at Tropicana Field. Drew Rasmussen (8-4, 2.82 ERA) picks up the win for the Rays who improve to 64-55 on the season. Pete Fairbanks worked a 1-2-3 ninth in picking up his 3rd save on the year. Brooks Raley and Jason Adam bridged the gap between Rasmussen and Fairbanks.
Yu Chang, who entered the game in a 1-for-16 skid delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the second to start a 4-run Rays rally and added an insurance RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth to give the Rays their fifth run. Chang may not garner a lot of headlines but his contributions haven’t gone unnoticed. “He’s been really good for us in many ways, defensively for sure.” Manger Kevin Cash said. “With the bat he picks up an RBI single early and [later] just looking for contact, something into the outfield, and he got the big sac fly.”
Manuel Margot returned to the Rays lineup and went 1-for-4 and seemed to have his timing back to where it was when he went on the IL back on June 20th.
Kris Bubic (2-8, 5.29 ERA) was roughed up by Tampa Bay. The Rays all right handed lineup tagged him for four runs in 3.2-innings. He allowed eight hits while walking a pair of runners, uncorking a wild pitch, and did not strike a batter out.
Rays Grab Early Lead:
Tampa Bay scored opened a 3-0 lead in the home half of the second inning. Francisco Mejia led off the inning with an infield single and moved to third on a double by Isaac Paredes. Yu Chang, mired in a 1-for-16 skid, delivered an RBI single scoring the games first run. Paredes was stopped at third base and scored on a wild pitch that allowed Chang to advance to second base. Taylor Walls delivered the Rays fourth consecutive hit to open the inning scoring Chang and giving the Rays a 3-0 lead.
Tampa Bay extended it’s lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning on a RBI double by Yandy Diaz that scored Taylor Walls who had walked to lead off the inning.
Royals Cut Into Rays Lead:
Drew Rasmussen held the Royals without a hit until one out in the sixth inning when MJ Melendez singled. He moved to third when Bobby Witt followed with a single. Salvador Perez delivered a sacrifice fly scoring Melendez and ending Rasmussen’s night. Brooks Raley entered the game to face the lefty bat of Vinnie Pasquantino. The strategy didn’t work as Pasquantino delivered an RBI single scoring Witt Jr. and cutting the Rays lead to 4-2.
Pen Up To The Task:
Brooks Raley took over for Rasmussen and allowed an inherited runner to score losign the lefty on lefty battle to Vinnie Pasquantino but worked 1.1-innings before giving way to Jason Adam. Adam worked a perfect eighth and Fairbanks a perfect ninth to protect the Rays win.
Drew Rasmussen was fantastic once again. He took a perfect game into the 9th inning his last time out and prior to that he held the opposition hitless in a 3-inning stint. On Saturday afternoon he didn’t allow the Royals a hit until their was one out in the sixth. Overall, he worked 5.2-innings and allowed two earned runs on two hits while striking out eight and walking one. He threw 89 pitches with 59 for strikes. “He’s been on incredible run.” Cash said. “I thought his stuff [today] was a tick better than what we saw in Baltimore.”
Lefty Kris Bubic facing a lineup of all right-handed hitters was roughed up allowing four earned runs on eight hits in 3.2-innings of work. He walked two, allowed a run to score on a wild pitch, and did not strike a batter out. He threw 76 pitches with 50 for strikes.
Welcome Back Manny Margot:
Prior to the game, the Tampa Bay Rays reinstated outfielder Manuel Margot (right patellar tendon strain) from the 60-day injury list. To make room on the active roster, outfield Roman Quinn was placed on the 10-day injury list with a left knee contusion. The Rays also had to make room on the 40-man roster for Margo. To open the 40-man spot, the Rays designated right handed reliever Ralph Garza Jr. for assignment.
Margot had to be carted off the Tropicana Field turf after landing awkwardly attempting a leaping catch in right field on June 20th against the New York Yankees. At the time of his injury, Margot was slashing .302/.365/.423 spanning 200 plate appearances.
The Rays signed Roman Quinn on July 21st giving them another right handed outfield bat after Harold Ramirez was placed on the 10-day injury list with a broken left thumb. Quinn filled in quite well for the Rays slashing .262/.340/.405 spanning 47 plate appearances.
Garza Jr. was claimed off waivers from the Boston Red Sox on April 7th. He was called to duty by the Rays four times – May 15, June 15, July 12, and July 27th. Overall he appeared in 19 games and acquainted himself pitching to a 2-2 record with a 3.34 ERA (13ER/35.0IP). Interesting point with Garza Jr., he had been optioned four times this season. Under the new MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, had he been optioned a fifth time he would have automatically be placed on waivers. One wrinkle to note that doesn’t affect Garza Jr. – since the MLB season was delayed resulting in a shortened spring training, optioning players in April did not count against the cap of five options.
Rays And Royals Wrap Up Season Series:
The Tampa Bay Rays will complete their four game series with the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon at 1:40 pm est. Tampa Bay has not officially announced who is going to start but it’s expected that Ryan Yarbrough (1-7, 4.75 ERA) will get the bulk of the innings. The Royals will send right hander Zack Greinke (4-8, 4.13 ERA) to the mound.
Tampa Bay continues it’s eight game homestand welcoming in Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels for a four game set starting Monday night at 7:10 pm est. The Royals returning home to Kauffman Stadium for a six-game homestand kicking off with a standalone game against the Chicago White Sox Monday afternoon at 1:10 pm central time. The game is part of the rescheduling of the first series of the season that had to be cancelled due to the lockout. After the White Sox game, the Arizona Diamondbacks are in KC for a two game series followed by a weekend tilt with the San Diego Padres.