Rays Outlast Wheeler, Score Twice In Eighth To Defeat Phillies 5-3

Rays Improve To 13 Games Over .500

St. Petersburg, FL – The Tampa Bay Rays scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies in the first of their brief two game weekend series.

Diego Castillo (2-2, 3.20 ERA) picks up with win for Tampa Bay who improve to 33-20 and J.P. Feyeriesen worked the ninth inning to pick up his second save of the season. It was the third consecutive win for Tampa Bay who has is 14-1 since May 13 and have won 20 of 25 since May 2nd. Tampa Bay has won 7 of their last 8 games at Tropicana Field to improve to 14-13 at home.

Sam Coonrod (0-2, 3.63 ERA) takes the loss for Philadelphia who fall to 25-27 on the year.

Rays Nike Throwback Jersey, Game 1 of 5 select dates (Vs Philadelphia Phillies May 29, 2021)

Austin Meadows gave the Rays a 2-0 lead in the first inning belting his 11th homer of the season to drive in Yandy Diaz who kept the inning alive with a 2-out single.

Philadelphia tied the game with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Ryan Yarbrough walked Odubel Herrera with one out and Roman Quinn followed with a bunt single. Both Herrera and Quinn scored on Ronal Torreyes double to right field.

Quinn fell down between third and home and scampered home clutching his lower leg. He left the game due to a left achilles issue. Torreyes double ended Ryan Yarbrough’s night.

Ryan Thompson entered the game and retired Andrew McCutchen on a line out to third, walked Jean Segura, but struck out Rhys Hoskins to end the inning keeping the game tied 2-2.

Yarbrough’s final line was 4.1-innings allowing two earned runs on three hits while striking out eight and walking two. His eight strikeouts were a season high.

Yarbrough continues to search for a win as a starting pitcher. His last win as a starter came back on August 11, 2019 against the Detroit Tigers. In 24 starts since his last victory, he is 0-10 with a 5.04 ERA (72 ER/128.2 IP).

Ryan Thompson retired the first batter in the sixth inning before giving way to Jeffrey Springs.

Tampa Bay regained the lead in the sixth inning when Yandy Diaz and Austin Meadows drew back to back walks. Diaz scored on Ji-Man Choi‘s RBI single pushing the Rays in front 3-2.

Former Rays outfielder Matt Joyce tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the seventh belting his first homer of the season and ending a personal 0-for-28 streak.

Springs worked 1.2-innings allowing just the homer to Matt Joyce while striking out four and gave way to Diego Castillo to work the eighth.

Castillo gave up a leadoff single to Jean Segura who promptly got into scoring position by stealing second base. It was the Phillies second stolen base of the game and their 18th stolen base in the month of May without being caught and are 32-for-35 (91.4%) on the season.

Castillo came back to get Rhys Hoskins on a line drive to center and struckout J.T. Realmuto. Kevin Cash decided to intentionally walk Brad Miller to setup the Castillo versus Alec Bohm matchup. Castillo won the battle getting Bohm to ground into a fielders choice to end the threat.

Zack Wheeler departed the game after seven effective innings holding the Rays to three runs on four hits while striking out a career high 14 batters and walking two. He made 101 pitches with 71 or strikes.

Wheeler was replaced by Sam Coonrod who allowed an infield single to Randy Arozarena who was originally called out but ruled safe on the replay challenge. “The key was getting Randy on base right there and allowing some things to go our way.” Kevin Cash said. “Meadows hung in there just put it in play. When you chop it, you have a chance with a guy at 3rd. Than Ji-Man hit-by-pitch, and Bross [Mike Brosseau] had a tremendous at-bat.”

Arozarena advanced to bases hustling to third on a wild pitch. “I don’t think when you’re ever on base you’re not anticipating the change to get 180 feet on a passed ball but he did.” Cash said. “Randy, when he runs the bases, he is looking to get after it and take advantage of everything. Very heads-up play and kind of changes everything for us. Allowed us to get those guys to the plate and just get just enough to score the runs.”

Brandon Lowe struckout and Yandy Diaz was intentionally walked. With lefties Austin Meadows and Ji-Man Choi due up Phillies Manager Joe Girardi replaced Coonrod with lefty Jose Alvarado.

Austin Meadows drove in Arozarena with an infield single giving Tampa Bay the 4-3 lead. Ji-Man Choi was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Alvarado remained in the game to face Manuel Margot and struck him out for the second out. Mike Brosseau pinch hit for Joey Wendle and drew the walk to push the Rays lead to 5-3.

J.P. Feyereisen worked the ninth inning to close out the game and preserve Tampa Bay’s victory.

The game featured a combined 31 strikes, four shy of the MLB record for a nine-inning game. The 16 strikeouts by the Rays tied their season high (twice prior). Despite the high strikeout total, Tampa Bay has won all three games.

Wheeler’s 14 strikeouts were the most for an opposing pitcher against the Rays since Jacob DeGrom of the Mets on September 21, 2020 at Citi Field (14) and most by a visitor at Tropicana Field since Danny Duffy of the Kanas City Royals (16) on August 1, 2016.

Up Next For Rays:

The Rays and Phillies will play the final game of their brief two game weekend series Sunday at 1:10. Collin McHugh (0-1, 4.02 ERA) will open for the Rays against Zach Eflin (2-4, 3.84 ERA). Josh Fleming (4-3, 2.88 ERA) is expected to receive the bulk of the innings for Tampa Bay.