In a game of quirky bounces, bad calls, and comedic relief, the Rays completed a sweep of the Cleveland Indians with a 8-2 win, reclaiming the top wild card spot.
Coming off a rough start against Houston, Charlie Morton hoped to get back on track. Things started well well for CMFM, as he fanned two in a clean first inning.
Righty Adam Plutko — who I’m pretty sure was a character in ‘60s military sitcom McHale’s Navy — got the start for Cleveland. He was greeted by a one-out first inning double from Austin Meadows that also feature former Ray Jake Bauers tripping over the bullpen mound. Pham then worked a walk. A sensational diving grab of Choi’s liner by the second baseman Freeman delayed the rally for one hitter, until Joey Wendle’s liner through the middle scored Meadows.
The Rays got an assist on the play when Mercado’s throw home hit second base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.
The lead was short-lived. With one out in the second inning, swinging bunt and a walk put two men on for Cleveland with Jake Bauers. Willy’s buddy drove a changeup over Kiermaier’s head that one hopped the centerfield wall for a game tying double. Morton then got Plawecki to fly out to short right and punched out Chang to keep the game tied.
The Rays got back on top for good in the fourth. With two outs, Kevin Kiermaier earned a walk. He came around to score on Nate Lowe’s 442-foot bomb to right center. 3-1 Rays.
Nate Lowe hits a 2-run BLAST to right field to give @Raysbaseball a 3-1 lead!✨— FOX Sports Florida & Sun (@FOXSportsFL) September 1, 2019
Watch the Rays face the Cleveland Indians LIVE now on FOX Sports Sun and FOX Sports Go!#RaysUp #MLB pic.twitter.com/a7lwaiwzkz
Leading off the fifth, Eric Sogard stroked a single over the second baseman’s head. One out later, Pham singled to center and ended Plutko’s day. Oliver Perez came on, and pinch hitter d’Arnaud doubled into the right center gap. Initially it was ruled that both runners scored, with Pham beating a excellent relay throw with a head-first slide.
But a bullshirt review call in New York went against the Rays, taking one run off the board. 4-1 Rays.
Morton continued to look solid on the hill. Though walked more than you’d like, his stuff was sharp.
se·quence— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 1, 2019
a particular order in which related events, movements, or things follow each other pic.twitter.com/GZhZ6KjPnA
For the day he went five and a third innings, giving up just the one run on four hits, while walking three and striking out out eight. He also hit a batter.
Charlie only did one thing wrong today. pic.twitter.com/hTBWqVb2oT— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 1, 2019
Hoby Milner entered the game in the sixth with a runner on second and one out to face Jake Bauers. The Zipper got Bauers looking at strike three, then retired Plawecki on a grounder to short to end the Cleveland rally.
Pete Fairbanks got the call for the seventh. His 98 mph stuff was both electric and erratic. He walked Chang on four pitches that were not close, then found his release point to come back to get Lindor and Mercado on fly outs. He then got Santana swinging to end the inning.
The Rays tacked on in the bottom of the seventh with a two out rally. After Tommy Pham ripped a hanging slider for a double to left, he was brought home — safely this time — by a d’Arnaud single to left.
Andrew Kittredge came on for the eighth and gave up a couple singles. Two fly outs later and it was 5-2. A very strange hit by pitch, where the ball bounced halfway to home and rebounded up to hit pinch hitter Greg Allen on the lip, ended Kitt’s day. Chaz Roe came on retired Chang.
In the bottom of the eighth, five straight one-out singles from KK, NLowe, Mike Zunino (?!?!?), Sogard and Meadows extended the Rays lead to 8-2.
Ricardo Pinto worked a clean ninth.
- That replay call was atrocious.
- In the second inning, a Rays successful double steal of second and third by Wendle and Pham were the first steal attempts on the season against Plutko. Another steal attempt by Adames in the fourth was not successful.
- In feel-good news, Carlos Carrasco took the hill for the bottom of the seventh for the Indians. It was his first appearance back since going on the IL to get treatment for leukemia.
- Seriously though. That replay call was terrible.