The Hatfield Recap Win Streak continues!
The Rays victory came on a walk-off passed ball in the bottom of the 9th, and that winning run got aboard on an error. I mean.. of course it did, right?
First, let's talk about Drew "David Who?" Smyly. This dude showed once again why this season's trade was no bust. Drew delivered 6 solid innings of one-run ball, pairing 4 hits and 2 balls with 8 strikeouts. His lone mistake came in the 2nd inning, when Chris Davis launched his slider into the right field seats.
Fun fact: Smyly's 1.70 ERA is the lowest for any pitcher in their first seven starts in Tampa Bay Rays history.
The Rays answered that aforementioned Davis homer in the 3rd. After a Casali strikeout and Zobrist walk, David DeJesus knocked a single to right that moved Zo to third. Longo followed that up with a sac fly to center to score him and tie the game at 1. Loney got in on the action with a single to left that moved DeJesus to second. Wil Myers gave the Rays the lead with a line drive shot to center to score DeJesus. Adam Jones hustled and got a glove on it, but couldn't keep it in the webbing. 2-1 Rays.
If you can get your hands on a replay of the top of the 5th, I advise that you check it out. Smyly crushed this inning. After giving up a walk and a one out single, Smyly joined half of the Rays infield in foul territory to chase down a Steve Pearce pop up and made a terrific catch to grab it for the second out. Drew locked down the inning with a big Adam Jones strikeout on a 93mph fastball that Jones couldn't handle. Smyly would do a little 360 spin in celebration as Jones chunked his helmet in frustration. Just an enjoyable half inning of ball.
There is talk that this may have been Smyly's last start. The Rays have nothing to play for at this point, and he's reaching the upper levels of his innings limit. Remember, Smyly pitched a good portion of his season in relief last year. If that is the case, Cy Smyly gave us a beauty to remember him by as we try and survive the cold, baseball-less Florida winter.
Joel Peralta took the mound in the 7th, and immediately gave up a monster line drive off Nick Hundley's bat that bounced off the top of the yellow part of the wall, just inches away from a game-tying homer. Props to the fans in the front row for getting out of the way instead of trying to grab a souvenir. You're getting there, Tampa Bay. Peralta would recover quickly and pair 2-1 with Jeff Beliveau to strike out the rest of the side.
Jake McGee took over in the 8th, and did not have one of his better innings. Jake kicked it off with a walk to Steve Pearce, who was immediately replaced by pinch-runner Quentin Barry. After popping up Adam Jones for the first out, with Nelson Cruz at the plate, Jake attempted a pick off throw to first that went awry and advanced Berry to second. Cruz would make him pay with an RBI single to tie it up 2-2. Chris Davis sent Cruz to second on the single, who was then replaced by pinch-runner David Lough. Have no fear though, as Longo would save us all with an outstanding double play. Delmon Young hit a screamer off the bat that Longo was able to grab and snap throw to Zobrist to nail Lough before he could get back to the bag. Bullet dodged.
After a 1-2-3 Boxberger top of the inning (featuring two beautiful strikeouts), the stage for the walk-off would be set on some sloppy Ryan Flaherty defense. Flaherty had some trouble with Yunel Escobar's hard grounder, but he managed to make a throw that would have beat Yunel had Davis been able to handle it. The throw looked catchable, but an error was charged to Flaherty anyway. Escobar safe at first base.
Kevin Kiermaier's sac bunt advanced Yunel to second, and Curt Casali's sac fly sent him to third. Brad Brach would intentionally walk Ben Zobrist before being replaced by Andrew Miller.
Ryan Hanigan would be called on to pitch hit for DeJesus against the lefty, an interesting decision but one that worked out just fine. Miller's second pitch was a touch wild and more than a touch out of reach of Nick Hundley's glove. Escobar hustled home to give the Rays a Passed Ball Walk-Off Victory! 3-2 Rays!!
Today's win puts the Rays at 69-74, not that it matters a whole lot now. At this point, I would just like to see some signs of life from the guys who have underperformed this season, and continue to enjoy watching our youngsters and/or new acquisitions showing us what they've got. Wins are cool though. Glad we were able to catch one today.