Rays Offense Capitalizes With Runners In Scoring PositionFollow @Steve_Kinsella1
St. Petersburg, FL – Shane McClanahan (1-0, 4.67 ERA) picked up his first big league win as the Rays banged out 15 hits in their 12-5 win over the New York Mets.
With the win, Tampa Bay wins their third in a row and improves to tie a season high mark of three games over .500 at 22-19. It was the Rays 11th come from behind win on the season.
The Rays bats came to life with runners in scoring position finishing the game 8-for-18 in those situations. Entering the game the Rays were batting just .149 (24-for-161) with runners in scoring position at Tropicana Field and had just 10 hits in their last 94 plate appearances in those situations. Overall, they entered today hitting and .201 (67-for-334) with runners in scoring position overall on the season.
Joey Lucchesi (1-3, 9.19 ERA) takes the loss for the Mets who fall to 18-15 on the season. The 12 runs allowed ends a streak of five straight games in which Mets pitchers had allowed three or fewer runs. It’s also just the Mets third loss (15-3) when scoring four or more runs this season. The Mets drop to 2-4 in interleague play on the year and are 11-15 in interleague play going back to last season (9-11).
McClanahan worked a career high 5.1-innings allowing four earned runs on six hits striking out seven and walking one. He made 75 pitches with 51 for strikes. He departed with the Rays leading 6-4 and in line for his first big league win.
Drew Smith opened for the Mets and allowed an unearned run spanning two innings of work. The only run he allowed came when Yandy Diaz scampered home on throwing error by catcher Tomas Nido on a Joey Wendle stolen base attempt. The Rays early 1-0 lead wouldn’t last long as Jose Peraza delivered a 3-run homer in the second inning and Pete Alonso added a solo homer in the third inning giving the Mets a 4-1 lead.
Both Peraza’s homer and Alonso’s homers came off hanging sliders off Rays starter Shane McClanahan and both came with two outs in their respective innings. “I just tried to do too much with the pitches.” McClanahan explained. “I tried to make it move too much and it just spun. That’s just one of those learning experiences going forward, that you don’t have to try and do too much just trust yourself and stay within yourself.”
Staying within himself is something that is preached by Kyle Snyder and reaffirmed by McClanahan as to how he settled into the game after the homers early on. “Snydes [Kyle Snyder] and I talked in the dugout, we discussed, just trust your stuff, fill it up, let them hit the ball good things happen. You don’t have to be too perfect. I trust the guys behind me 100% and I just tried to fill it up and they made really great plays behind me.”
Lucchesi took over for Smith and worked a quick and quiet third inning before Tampa Bay rallied for five runs in the fourth to take a 6-4 lead.
Yandy Diaz walked to open the inning, moved to third on a Joey Wendle double, and scored on a Manuel Margot single. Both Margot and Wendle scored on Willy Adames game-tying double. Lucchesi retired Mike Zunino on a pop out to first and struck out Brett Phillips before departing for righty Sean Reid-Foley who came in to face Mike Brosseau.
Kevin Cash went to his bench and selected lefty Austin Meadows to hit for the right handed hitting Brosseau. The move worked as Austin Meadows delivered a double scoring Adames and giving the Rays the 5-4 lead. Randy Arozarena followed with a single scoring Meadows and giving the Rays a 6-4 lead.
After retiring the first batter in the sixth inning Shane McClanahan’s first big league victory would be in the hands of the Rays bullpen. Andrew Kittredge retired the final two batters in the sixth and retired the side in the seventh.
Jeffrey Springs worked the eighth inning and allowed a solo homer to Francisco Lindor to open the inning cutting the Rays lead to 6-5. He retired the next two batters before issuing a walk to Dominic Smith. Entering his appearance today, Springs had struck out 18 batters while issuing just one walk spanning 16 appearances. He struck out James McCann to end the inning and maintain the Rays narrow 1-run lead and McClanahan’s chance at his first big league win.
Tommy Hunter held the Rays scoreless for the sixth and seventh inning turning the ball over to Jacob Barnes to work the eighth. He allowed back-to-back singles to Austin Meadows and Randy Arozarena to open the inning before walking Brandon Lowe to load the bases.
Mets Manager Luis Rojas turned to Jeurys Familia to keep the deficit at one run. Yandy Diaz brought two runs home on a bouncer over the drawn in infield that went off the glove of Francisco Lindor to increase the Rays lead to 8-5.
Joey Wendle followed with a double through the shift to drive in a pair of runs and extend the Rays lead to 10-5. It was Wendle’s fourth hit and his third double. He becomes the16th Ray in franchise history with a three double game and first since Kevin Kiermaier against the Baltimore Orioles on July 12, 2019.
Brett Phillips delivered a 2-out double to score both Wendle and Adames to increase the Rays lead to 12-5.
The eighth inning was rough inning for the Mets bullpen as Barnes and Familia were charged with six earned runs on five hits, two walks, and a pair of strikeouts.
Cody Reed, who hadn’t worked since May 8th in Oakland, worked the ninth inning for Tampa Bay.
Strickland Traded To Angles, Rays Activate Choi
Prior to the game the Tampa Bay Rays traded reliever Hunter Strickland to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Strickland, signed as a minor league free agent over the winter, impressed pitching to a 1.69 ERA spanning 16 innings of work striking out 16 and walking six.
To take Strickland’s spot on the 26-man roster, Tampa Bay activated Ji-Man Choi from the injury list (arthroscopic surgery on right knee). Choi recently completed a rehab assignment with the Rays Triple-A affiliate Durham Bulls where he hit .261 (6-for-23) spanning six games. He returned to St. Petersburg earlier this week but experienced soreness delaying his activation. “He feels significantly better.” Kevin Cash said prior to the game. “Seems to be turning the page from the soreness he might have had from flying back in and also from the first day of treatment.”