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Rays 1, Mariners 0: Yarbrough spins a gem

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Ryan Yarbrough is brilliant and Eric Sogard hits a dinger

Tampa Bay Rays v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays finished off a sweep of the Seattle Mariners with a 1-0 win on a near complete game shutout from Ryan Yarbrough.

Ryan Yarbrough was nothing short of brilliant, going eight and two-thirds and giving up just three hits, while striking out eight while walking no one. And no, he wasn’t in trouble when Cash made the call for Emilio Pagan to relieve a visibly upset Yarbrough. The bases were empty for Pagan’s two-pitch, one out save.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Seattle Mariners Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Yarbrough worked the ball in and out all day, changing speeds effectively and keeping the Mariner off balance. But as fantastic as Yarbrough was, he did get a little help from his friends.

This quick tag from Sogard came after an absolute seed of a throw by Zunino to record a caught stealing of Dee Gordon, who had reached on a bunt single in the second.

In the sixth, Willy Adames a perfect jump throw to rob Mallex Smith of an infield hit after a review.

And in the seventh, Guillermo Heredia flagged down a deep fly by Austin Nola and survived a crash into the wall.

Another big moment came with two outs in the eighth, and didn’t require great D behind Yarbrough. The Mariners pinch hit with slugger Dan Vogelbach for Dylan Moore, and the count ran full. Yarbs put him away looking at a 3-2 curve.

For the Mariners, the combo of Sam Tuivailala, Wade LeBlanc, Brandon Brennan, and Anthony Bass kept the Rays bats fairly quiet most of the day. The Rays got all the offense they would need in the fourth against LeBlanc, when Eric Sogard ‘Nerd Power’d’ his 13th dinger of the season.

But all the talk about this one — besides how brilliant Yarbrough was — will be on whether Cash should have given the lefty a shot at recording the first Rays complete games since Matt Andriese in May 2016. The skipper’s defenders will argue that Cash was managing for the win instead of the stat sheet. The protesters will point to the weak contact Yarbrough had gotten all day, and that the Mariner ended up pinch hitting a lefty (Narvaez) again Pagan anyway, thus taking away the platoon advantage Cash was hoping to gain.

The truth is, it was just a very Rays move by Kevin Cash. As Brian Anderson said during the eighth inning, “deserve” is not in the Rays vocabulary. Like it or not, in this situation, Cash makes this move ten times out of nine, In the end, it probably came down to the Rays offense only being able to put one run on the board. If there was any wiggle room, Cash at least gives Yarbrough a chance.

The Rays continue this West Coast trip tomorrow in San Diego, when they kick off a series against the Padres. Game time is at 10:10 p.m.