Opening Day has come and gone with the Rays starting the season 1-0. Tonight begins the stretch of games that bring things back to normalcy, with no Opening Day fanfare but simply Rays baseball on the TV. Ryan Yarbrough takes the mound against Pablo Lopez and the Marlins.
Yarbrough started his outing out with a 1-2-3 first, striking out Jesus Aguilar to end the inning.
Yarbrough kept it going through the third inning, sitting down the Marlins lineup the first time through the order with no hits allowed. The Marlins got their first two hits off of Yarbrough in the bottom of the fourth, but no runs would score after a line-out double play to end the inning.
Speaking of line-out double plays to end the inning, that is exactly what Yarbrough did when it was his turn to bat in the top of the fifth.
This game moved along quietly with only two hits for the Rays headed into the top of the sixth, although they had five hard hit balls to this point. Austin Meadows made sure that his home run last night would not be a one-time thing, as he launched one into the right field seats to put the Rays on the board, 1-0.
Meads on pace for 162 homers pic.twitter.com/aKBVDQEVUE— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 3, 2021
Meadows’ home run traveled 387 feet after leaving his bat at 103.4 mph.
Yarbrough allowed a two-out double in the bottom of the sixth to Starling Marte, and that marked the end of his outing. After 65 pitches over 5.2 innings, Yarby struck out three, walked none while allowing four hits and no runs before handing the ball over to Pete Fairbanks.
Fairbanks walked Aguilar on four pitches but got a fly ball to end the inning.
John Curtiss entered the game in the top of the seventh, pitching for the ... Marlins. He recorded two outs on six pitches, bringing Manuel Margot up to the plate. Margot welcomed the former Rays pitcher with a shot to deep center field, giving the Rays a 2-0 lead with a 400-foot solo home run.
Chaz Roe took the mound for the Rays in the bottom of the seventh and looked like his prime, slider-slinging self after striking out the first two Miami hitters. Roe allowed a hit to the wall against Jazz Chisholm, but a questionable effort by the outfielders Margot and Arozarena allowed Chisholm to turn a double into a triple. A walk of Jorge Alfaro ended Roe’s outing with Ryan Sherriff coming in to relive him.
Simply put, Sherriff didn’t preserve the lead. Corey Dickerson doubled to score Chisholm before Miguel Rojas scored both Alfaro and Dickerson with a single to give Miami a 3-2 lead.
The bottom of the eighth was pretty ugly. Andrew Kittredge was brought in to replace Sherriff but immediately allowed a leadoff single to Aguilar. Pinch-runner Magnerius Sierra stole second on a passed ball that Mejia should have caught.
After striking out Garrett Cooper, Brian Anderson hit a ball up the middle that Brandon Lowe wasn’t able to fully control. Even worse, Lowe decided to still try and throw the ball to first and it ended up in an overthrow to Tsutsugo and a fourth Marlins run hitting the board. Kittredge eventually got out of the inning, but it was a sloppy and uncharacteristic eighth inning from the Rays.
Anthony Bass entered the game for the Marlins to try and record the save, while it was up to Arozarena, Lowe and Yandy to try and at least tie it. Randy grounded out, but Brandon Lowe and Yandy Diaz hit back-to-back singles, bringing Joey Wendle up to the plate. On a 1-2 pitch, Joey Wendle opened up a can of Whoop Bass and gave the Rays the lead with a 385-foot three-run home run, making it 5-4.
New year, same fight in this team pic.twitter.com/Pa94MqCPJW— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 3, 2021
On top of that, the Rays added an insurance run after Manuel Margot tripled and Francisco Mejia drove him home with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-4 Rays.
It was up to Diego Castillo to try and do what Anthony Bass could not; close this game out. After a groundout for the first out, Castillo struck out Rojas for the second out. A single up the middle added a little bit of pressure, but Magnerius Sierra grounded out to Yoshi at first and that ended the game, giving the Rays their second win on the season.
The American League Champions made it both hard to watch and exciting to watch when it came to the final third of the game, but finding a way to win is what good teams do, and the Rays did just that.
Rich Hill will be taking the mound tomorrow evening for the Rays against Elieser Hernandez and the Marlins in the final game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 pm inside of loanDepot park.