Jake Bauers Delivers Clutch Homer, Rays Defeat Athletics

Bauers Credits Applesauce For Power

Jake Bauers entered the game hitless in his last 11 at-bats, 2 for his last 29, and 4 for his last 65. Looking at the scoreboard and seeing a .189 batting average staring back at him wasn’t a pretty site.

Things were looking better as he singled in his first two times up and drove in Kevin Kiermaier with a sacrifice fly in his third at-bat. The weight of the world may have been lifted off his shoulders in his third plate appearance as he belted a 3-run homer off Jeurys Familia in the eighth to put the Rays up 7-4 en route to a 7-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

During his struggles, Bauers said he’s been trying different stuff every day. “To a certain extent sometimes I think you do too much and dig yourself a deeper hole.” said Bauers. “Today my new thing was Brandon Lowe gave me some applesauce, he swears by it…..Squid [Andrew Velazquez] gave me a cookie, anything like that just to trick your mind. Get a little bit of confidence in you.”

Yes, Lowe told Bauers that he had a 12-pack of applesauce in his locker and they both will have it pre-game Sunday.

More Than Just Bauers:

Andrew Kittredge (2-2, 6.75 ERA) picks up the win as Tampa Bay improves to 81-66 on the season. The 81 wins are the most in a season in the Kevin Cash era. Sergio Romo allowed  a home run to Matt Chapman in the ninth but secured the win to pick up his 20th save on the season.

Tampa Bay improves to 47-26 at Tropicana Field this season including winning 14 of their last 16 under the dome. Overall, they are 10-3 over their past 13 games and are 19-5 since Augut 19th, the best winning percentage in the majors over that span.

Jeurys Famila (4-2, 3.58 ERA) took the loss for Oakland who fall to 90-59 on the season. They fail to pick up a game in the race for home field in the Wild Card game as the New York Yankees fell to the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7.  They entered the game 2.5 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West. The Astros are comfortably ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks and will more than likely increase their lead to 3.5 games.

How It Happened:

The Rays jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Brandon Lowe‘s homer in the second inning. Oakland tied the game with single runs in the third and sixth innings.

Tampa Bay took a 4-2 lead in their half of the sixth inning on a RBI triple by Kevin Kiermaier who scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jake Bauers.

Oakland came right back to tie the game with two runs in the top of the seventh on a RBI double by pinch hitter Mark Canha who scored the tying run on a passed ball.

The A’s had a golden opportunity go by the wayside in the top of the eighth after loading the bases with one out. Vidal Nuno struck out Marcus Semien for the second out. Andrew Kittredge came in and got Mark Canha to ground into a fielders choice to end the threat.

After the inning, A’s Manager Bob Melvin came out to argue the third strike to Semien and was ejected by home plate umpire Larry Vanover. It was Melvin’s 19th career ejection with Oakland and second this season.

Jake Bauers delivered a 3-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to give the Rays a 7-4 lead. Matt Chapman got a run back homering off Sergio Romo in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough as Tampa Bay won 7-5.

Battle Of Openers Plus A Lot Of Arms:

Both Oakland (Liam Hendriks) and Tampa Bay (Ryne Stanek) used opener’s and both utilized many arms to navigate their way through the game.  The two teams combined to use 14 pitchers, 7 on each side.

Lowe Goes Yard:

Dean Kiekhefer replaced Oakland’s opener Liam Hendricks in the second inning. Kiekhefer, a lefty, was called upon to face the bottom of the Rays lineup that included four consecutive left handed bats.  He didn’t have success as Kevin Kiermaier reached on a broken bat infield single and Brandon Lowe followed with his fifth homer of the season giving Tampa Bay the 2-0 lead.

Up Next For The Rays:

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Tampa Bay and Oakland conclude their season series on Sunday afternoon at 1:10.  The Rays will turn to Diego Castillo (3-2, 3.31 ERA) as the opener. Oakland counters with right hander Mike Fiers (12-6, 3.29 ERA).

I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.