Joey Wendle Delivers In Clutch, Rays Comeback In 9th To Defeat Miami

Rays Offense Comes To Life In 9th, Bails Out Bullpen In 6-4 Win Over Marlins

Tampa – Old Man Momentum was on the Marlins side after they rallied for three runs in the seventh to grab a 3-2 lead. They tacked on an insurance run in the eighth which extended their lead to 4-2. They certainly looked to be on their way to ending the Rays six game win streak at loanDepot park as Anthony Bass retired Randy Arozarena on just one pitch to open the ninth.

The momentum slowly began to creep towards the Rays favor as Brandon Lowe singled bringing a little life to the Rays bench. The energy and momentum increased even more after Yandy Diaz followed with a single of his own. Suddenly, the tying runs were on base and the go-ahead run was in the batters box in Joey Wendle. Wendle, not known for his power bat, delivered a 3-run homer to give Tampa Bay a 5-4 lead and put momentum back on the Tampa Bay side.

It was Wendle’s first three run homer of his career. The Rays weren’t done as Manuel Margot tripled and came home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Francisco Mejia.

The Rays play in a lot of tight games, and because of that they are seldom give up. “It’s a good group, they recognize that we’re not out of tight ballgames.” Manager Kevin Cash said. “We got guys that can put together good at-bats, get on-base, have our big-bopper Joey Wendle come up and hit a three run home run.”

After laughing at Cash’s “big-bopper nickname” Wendle remarked that “It was good to get that team win. I felt like with the pitching performances that we had tonight it was almost as if everybody kind of wanted to be the guy to break out of our hitting funk to start the season. It was good to be that guy tonight.”

Diego Castillo entered the game and held the Marlins in check earning his second save in as many nights. Andrew Kittredge (1-0, 9.00 ERA) picks up the win for the Rays who improve to 2-0 and extend their win streak in Miami to seven straight games. Anthony Bass (0-1, 36.00 ERA) takes the loss for Miami who fall to 0-2.

Back And Forth Affair:

For the second straight game Austin Meadows homered, this time in the sixth inning giving Tampa Bay the early 1-0 lead. Manuel Margot homered in the seventh inning to extend the lead to 2-0. The lead wouldn’t last as the normally stingy Rays bullpen was unable to escape with the lead intact in the bottom of the seventh.

The Marlins mounted a 2-out rally to take a 3-2 in the seventh inning. The inning seemed to be going nowhere as Chaz Roe retired the first two batters before allowing a triple to Jazz Chisholm. Roe didn’t help himself by walking Jorge Alfaro who has a career walk rate of 4%. Ryan Sherriff took over for Roe to face pinch-hitter Corey Dickerson who delivered an opposite field double scoring Chisholm and cutting the Rays lead to 2-1. Miguel Rojas followed with a single to drive in both runners and give the Marlins a 3-2 lead. Rojas moved into scoring position on the throw to the plate but was left stranded when Starling Marte flew out to right.

Andrew Kittredge worked the eighth inning for Tampa Bay and allowed a run on a errant throw by Brandon Lowe that extended the Marlins lead to 4-2.

The Rays scored four times in the ninth inning to take a 6-4 lead. Miami’s closer Anthony Bass easily retired Randy Arozorena for the first out, but then the Rays offense broke out in a big way. Brandon Lowe and Yandy Diaz delivered back to back singles and came home to score on Joey Wendle‘s three run homer giving the Rays a 5-4 lead. Manuel Margot followed with a triple and came home on a Francisco Mejia sacrifice fly.

Yarbrough’s Efficient And Effective Outing:

Ryan Yarbrough worked 5.2 scoreless innings allowing just four hits while striking out three and walking none. He was efficient throwing 65 pitches with 41 for strikes. Despite the scoreless and efficient outing, Yarbrough remarked after the game that he was fighting himself out there. T”he results were kind of exactly what you were looking for. A lot of soft contact and keeping guys off balance.” He said. “But to be honest with you just fighting myself a little bit with my delivery. Get on and get in synch a little bit so that was kind of a challenge at times. All in all just battled and kind of gave us the best chance to win there.”

Meadows Homers For Second Straight Game:

Austin Meadows continues to put his personal disappointing 2020 season in the rear view mirror and is quickly resembling the 2019 version of himself that showed so much promise. For the second time in as many games Meadows opened the scoring with a home run.

Margot’s Homers Highlights Strong Night:

Manager Kevin Cash wants to get all of his players into a game during the opening series with the Marlins. On Saturday that meant Manuel Margot got the start in center in place of Kevin Kiermaier, Joey Wendle at shortstop in place of Willy Adames, and Francisco Mejia at catcher in place of Mike Zunino. All three contributed. Wendle delivered the go-ahead three run homer, Mejia went 1-for-2 with a walk and gave the Rays an insurance run with his 9th inning sacrifice fly to bring home Margot who had tripled. Margot finished the night 2-4 with a HR and a triple scoring twice and driving in a run.

Up Next For Rays:

The Tampa Bay Rays and the Miami Marlins finish the series on Saturday night at 6:10. The Rich Hill (2-2, 3.03 ERA in 2020) will make his Rays debut. The Marlins counter with Eliser Hernandez (1-0, 3.16 ERA in 2020). Chris Archer will also pitch at some point after Hill.

Feature Image: (AP Photo/Gaston De Cardenas)