White Sox Walk Franco Intentionally, Arozarena Makes Them PayFollow @Steve_Kinsella1
St. Petersburg, FL – Randy Arozarena made the Chicago White Sox pay for intentionally walking Wander Franco by delivering the walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the tenth as the Rays defeated the Chicago White Sox 4-3 on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.
“It’s kind of pick your poison, totally understand and respect the Chicago thought process.” Manager Kevin Cash said about the decision the White Sox made to intentionally walk Franco. “We had the right guys coming up when we get that runner put at second base for us. Randy [Arozarena] certainly had a big day.”
Arozarena finished the game 3-for-5 with all four runs driven including his fifth homer of the season.
Garrett Cleavinger (1-0, 1.04 ERA) picked up the win for the Rays who improve to 18-3 to start the season. The win was the Rays 12th straight victory at home to begin the season making it the longest season opening home winning streak to open a season since the 2009 Los Angeles Dodgers won their first 13 such games. The 12 game winning streak also matches a Rays home win streak record set in 2008.
The game featured other record setting moments as well. In the first inning Randy Arozarena homered to extend the Rays streak of homering in consecutive games to start a season to 21. The 21 game streak sets a MLB record previously held by the 2019 Mariners. The Rays have now homered in 22 consecutive games dating back to October 5, 2022 setting the franchise mark previously held by the
Pete Fairbanks worked a scoreless ninth inning and in doing so extended his scoreless inning streak to 28.0 innings set the Rays franchise mark. The previous mark of 27.1 innings was set by J.P. Howell in 2012
Peter Lambert (1-1, 3.27 ERA) takes the loss for the White Sox who fall to a season high seven games under .500 at 7-14. It’s the first time they’ve been seven games under .500 since the end of the 2019 season. They have dropped three straight, five of six, and eight of their last 10 games. One walk-off loss stings, back-to-back walk-off losses are hard to shake off and don’t happen often. The last time the White Sox lost back-to-back games in walk-off fashion was to Cleveland on September 22 though 23, 2020.
Solid Outing For McClanahan:
Shane McClanahan continued a strong start to the season logging six innings allowing a pair of runs on three hits while striking out a season high ten and walking just one. Bothe runs he allowed came on solo homers. The first to Eloy Jimenez, in the second inning and the second to Yasmani Grandel in the fifth. He threw 88 pitches with 60 for strikes.
McClanahan has won his first five starts to begin the season joining Matt Moore who won his first five games in 2013. He induced a franchise record 32 swings and misses in the outing surpassing the previous mark of 27 set by Tyler Glasnow who acheived that mark three times.
“Seems like he has it every start, certainly against the Blue Jays and White Sox he had the change up and had the big fastball.” Cash said. “I’m more and more impressed with Shane. I feel like sometimes he’s conserving the fastball and then we he needs to reach back for 98-99 it’s there fourth, fifth, six inning whatever it is.”
McClanahan shared a similar sentiment as expressed by his his manager. “I think I’m learning how to pitch, not trying to overpower everybody. I’m trying to induce weak contact. Try to keep them off-balance.”
Arozarena’s Record Breaking Homer Puts Rays On Top:
Randy Arozarena delivered a 2-run homer in the bottom of the first inning giving Tampa bay the early 2-0 lead. It was Arozarena’s fifth homer on the season. The homer also marked the 21st straight game to open a season that a member of the Rays has homered setting a new MLB record. The Rays were previously tied at 20 straight games with the 2019 Seattle Mariners.
Rays Regain Lead:
Chicago tied the game with solo homers by Eloy Jimenez in the second inning and Yasmani Grandal in the fifth Yandy Diaz singled to open the home half of the fifth and moved to third on a Wander Franco single. The back-to-back hits ended the afternoon for White Sox starter Dylan Cease. Kenyan Middleton entered the game and the task of trying to keep the Rays off the scoreboard was eased a bit when Wander Franco was caught attempting to steal. Middleton was unable to work through the jam as Randy Arozarena singled for his third RBI on the afternoon putting Tampa Bay back in front 3-2.
Diaz Departs Game:
In between innings Yandy Diaz left his position at first base during warmup and went to the railing of the dugout. He appeared woozy and was helped off the field and into the dugout by the trainer. The Rays announced that Diaz departed the game from dehydration and he would be reevaluated further.
White Sox Hit Their Third Homer To Tie Game:
Jason Adam replaced Colin Poche in the top of the eight inning and allowed a game-tying pinch hit homer to Gavin Sheets. It was the White Sox third home run of the game. Adam rebounded to retire the next three White Sox and keep the game tied at 3-3.
Bullpen Holds, Randy Makes White Sox Pay:
Pete Fairbanks worked a scoreless ninth and Garrett Cleavinger kept the game even with a perfect 10th inning. Vidal Brujan pinch ran at second base for Francisco Mejia. Isaac Paredes popped up to shortstop Elvis Andrus for the first out. The White Sox then made the decision to intentionally walk Wander Franco to face Randy Arozarena who made them pay be driving a single to score Brujan with the game winning hit. It was his first walk-off plate appearance in the big leagues and his first walk-off hit since 2018 when he homered in Double-A while a member of the St. Louis Cardinals system.
Rays Pay Tribute To Dave Wills:
Prior to the game, the Tampa Bay Rays optioned Cooper Criswell to the Triple-A Durham Bulls and selected the contract of right handed reliever Hector Perez. To open a spot on the 40-man roster for Perez, the Rays transferred Jeffrey Springs to the 60-day injured list. Manager Kevin Cash was happy with the work Criswell did in helping the team but with the way the game went yesterday, they just needed a fresh arm. “Good for Hector Perez. I think he has one or two innings pitched in the big leagues so this is something still fairly new.” Cash remarked. “These guys we tell them, you’re going to help us. Sometimes more than we’d wish because of injuries and stuff, but we’re fortunate that we have so many options that can come up and contribute.”
Tampa Bay selected Perez out of the Baltimore Orioles system in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft this past December. Perez made his only MLB appearance with the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2020 season allowing two earned runs in 1.2-innings of work. Last season he split time primarily between the Class A Delmarva Shorebirds and the Double A Bowie Baysox. Addiing in a two-inning stint in the Florida Complex League he ended the year logging 33.1-innings and pitching to a 3.51 ERA striking out 48 and walking 19.
This season he’s logged 7.0-innings spanning five games with the Rays Triple-A affiliate Durham Bulls and pitched to a 7.71 ERA. Although, much of he damage was done in his last outing against the Syracuse Mets where he allowed four earned runs in one inning of work.
In his pregame talk with the media, Kevin Cash confirmed that pitcher Jeffrey Springs will undergo the dreaded Tommy John Surgery on Monday and will miss the remainder of 2023 and will aim to be back at some point during the 2024 season. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Keith Meister. In other injury news, starter Zach Eflin is on track to return to the Rays rotation Sunday. He was placed on the 10-day IL on April 11th (retroactive to April 8th) with lower back tightness.
Up Next For Rays:
Tampa Bay and Chicago will finish their three game series on Sunday afternoon at 1:40 pm EST. Tampa Bay will start Zach Eflin (2-0, 3.27 ERA) and the White Sox will counter with Lucas Giolito (1-1, 4.29 ERA).
The two teams won’t have to wait long to meet again. The Rays and White Sox will finish their season matchup with a 4-game series beginning Thursday night in Chicago. Before Tampa Bay heads on the road to the windy city they’ll host the World Champion Houston Astros in a three game series starting Monday evening at Tropicana Field.
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