Rays’ offense leads the team; veteran bat acquired

By: Garrett Ballard

The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Cleveland Guardians 6-4 on Saturday afternoon. The bats were hot all game, allowing Tampa Bay to score more than four runs for just the third game since the All-Star break. 

Much like Friday, Tampa Bay was able to score runs in the first inning. Brandon Lowe hit a two-run home run with two out to get the Rays out to an early lead. The difference in Saturday’s game is that Tampa Bay was able to score runs to extend their lead before Cleveland was able to answer. Rene Pinto doubled to score Taylor Walls in the second inning to extend the Rays’ lead to 3-0 before Cleveland scored their first run in the third inning. 

In the fifth inning, Yandy Diaz hit the Rays’ second two-run home run of the game, bringing the lead to 5-1. 

In the sixth inning, the Guardians got to Corey Kluber, as Andres Gimenez hit a three-run home run to reduce their deficit to just one run. 

Aside from that home run, Kluber was stellar. He pitched six innings and struck out ten batters before he was taken out of the game. 

An RBI single by Brett Phillips would get the Rays their sixth run in the eighth inning. 

Pete Fairbanks came in for the save and struck out Jose Ramirez, with three straight 99-mile-per-hour fastballs. 

Rays acquire new outfielder

In the middle of the game, the Rays traded for outfielder David Peralta from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Erik Neander knew the team needed a talent injection and this could provide that. 

Peralta has a .823 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) this season, and the Rays have a .681 OPS, ranking 23rd in the league.

Tampa Bay sent minor league catcher Christian Cerda to the Diamondbacks in exchange. Cerda is in rookie ball for the Rays and has a career .246 batting average in two years. 

This is a low-risk move for Tampa Bay, getting a proven bat in exchange for a prospect at least five years away from MLB time. Cerda did not rank within the Rays’ top-30 prospects and does not crack the Diamondbacks’ top-30 either. 

What’s next?

The Rays and Guardians will play one more game on Sunday at 1:40 P.M. Eastern. Star pitcher Shane McClanahan (10-3, 1.76 ERA) takes the mound for Tampa Bay. The Guardians pitcher is undecided at this time.