It took a while to get there, but the Rays eventually dispatched the Cleveland Indians 6-2 behind big hits from Lowe, Choi and Pham, and strong pitching from Charlie Morton. But first, about that delay.
I know we make fun of other teams for not having a dome when it rains. But the truth is, there isn’t a dome out there that could have prevented this delay. Because it wasn’t raining.
And it didn’t rain for a really long time...
So fans here at Progressive Field have been sitting in their seats for an hour, waiting for it to start raining, so they can get wet or move, then to wait for it to stop raining, the field to be prepped and players warmed up for #Rays-#Indians to start— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) May 25, 2019
After almost two hours, it did finally rain. A little. For about 10 minutes.
Also, per Dave Willis, due to high winds and too few tarp-hands, they ended up dumping water that had gathered on the tarp onto the infield dirt instead of the outfield grass as intended.
Not that I had anything else to do today...
Finally, almost three hours later, there was baseball.
After the Rays went in order against Carlos Carrasco in the first, Avisail Garcia singled to left leading off the second. Brandon Lowe then worked a full count before lining a double over the head of Martin in center. Garcia, who had been running on the pitch, scored easily.
Adames followed by bunting Lowe over to third, but Kiermaier and and d’Arnaud were unable to drive the run in.
On the hill, Charlie Morton was looking to bounce back from a rough outing against the Yankees, and he had it all going early, striking out the side in order in the first.
Things were not a smooth for Charlie in the second. Old friend Jake Bauers worked a walk, followed by a Jose Ramirez single through the shift that put runners on the corners with no outs. One out later, Martin slapped a slow roller through the gaping left side, tying the game and again putting runners on the corners. Morton wiggled out the jam, getting Perez on a hard liner to third, and Greg Allen on a three pitch strikeout.
Starting the third, Morton plunked Lindor with an 0-1 curve. But fret not! A flyout to left later, and Morton caught him leaning.
He followed that by whiffing Santana to end the third. He picked up two more strikeouts each in the fourth and fifth, giving him nine.
The Rays challenged in the fourth, but once again left some scrapple on the hog. Garcia got it started with a on-out rocket of a single past a diving Lindor. A steal of second and walk to Lowe followed, bringing up Willy Adames. Willy came up with a base hit, but his drive through the right side was too firm to score Garcia. Kevin Kiermaier and Travis d’Arnaud left the bases loaded, as both went down on strikes.
But do you know how to beat these RISP demons? You score without putting runners in scoring position! Which is how the Rays took the lead in the fifth.
It started with a two out single by Pham that extended his hitting streak to eleven games. Ji-Man Choi followed by floating one the other way that just kept carrying, right over the big wall in left.
In the sixth, the Rays again scored without putting a runner in scoring position, when Brandon Lowe absolutely demolished a ball to center.
Cleveland got something going in the bottom of the sixth, when Santana connected with a one-out double off the wall in left. A Bauers chop to first moved Santana to third, but Ramirez couldn’t get him home. The at bat wasn’t without drama, when a curve that hit Ramirez was ruled a strike because he squared to bunt and never pulled the bat back. Tito argued in vain against the call and was tossed for it. Morton then sat down Ramirez on the next pitch for his tenth and final strikeout of the day. Morton’s line: 6 innings, 1 run, 3 hits and a couple walks.
The Rays continued their run of non-scoring-position runs in the seventh. DRob reached with no outs when Lindor muffed a slow grounder. One out later, Tommy Pham lined one over the fence in center, ending the night for Carrasco.
The Rays got another rally going in the eighth, when Kiermaier singled. But Robertson made the fatal mistake of putting a runner in scoring position with a single of his own. The inevitable strikeout of Meadows killed the rally.
On the mound, Casey Sadler took over for Morton. He gave up a walk in a scoreless seventh, and a solo homer to Santana in an otherwise uneventful eighth. Diego Castillo worked a scoreless ninth.
They wrap up this four game set tomorrow at 1:10 PM.
- The Rays had only one hit in six chances with a runner in scoring position (Willy Adames). It did not score a run. Maybe RISP hitting is overrated?
- Kevin Burkhardt and Brian Anderson had an extended conversation about Garbage Pail Kids trading cards that did my GenX heart good.
- Overall, I really like the way Burkhardt calls a game. But you can tell he’s used to doing national games, because he gets a little too jazzed when the bad guys do something fun. I’d like a little more homer in my broadcast team, Kevin.