The bats have awakened! After falling into an early 4-1 hole, the Rays offense came roaring to life, as they knocked off the Mets going away 12-5.
Before we get to the game, a lot of action happened just before game time. First, the Rays announced that Ji-Man Choi was added to the active roster and would be available to pinch hit. Meanwhile, the bullpen would be down an arm as Hunter Strickland was dealt to the Angels for a PTBNL or cash.
The #Rays have activated Ji-Man Choi from the 10-day IL and traded Hunter Strickland to the Angels for a PTBNL or cash considerations.— Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) May 15, 2021
Meanwhile, former Rays farmhand Jake Hager was called up by the Mets.
Congrats, Jake, and good luck! (Just not this weekend.)
Now, on with the show.
Sugar Shane McClanahan took the hill for the Rays, backed by the lineup below.
The Mets countered with former Rays farmhand Drew Smith, who was serving as the opener.
In the top of the first, McClanahan struck out the side, pitching around a Conforto single to center.
In the bottom of the first, Yandy Diaz smacked a two out ground rule double to right. Wendle followed by dribbling a grounder to second for an infield single. Then on the 2-0 pitch to Margot, Wendle broke for second, stealing the bag fairly easily as catcher Tomas Nido’s throw bounced into and then skipping away from second baseman Jose Peraza, allowing Diaz to break for home and score. 1-0 Rays!
In the top of the second, two singles and a fielders choice bunt put Mets at the corners with one out. After a steal and a strikeout, Peraza ripped a hanging slider out to left. 3-1 Mets.
In the top of the third, Tampa native Pete Alonso took McClanahan out deep to left with a two out solo shot. 4-1 Mets.
Don’t worry, it gets better.
The Rays put up a five spot in the fourth against Joey Lucchesi, who had taken over for the Mets in the third. It started when Yandy Diaz drew a leadoff walk. Wendle followed with a double to left. An infield single by Margot made it a 4-2 game.
There was some really good base running by Wendle on this play as he hung on at second instead of trying for third. With the way Lindor fielded this ball, his only play would have been at third.
The baseball gods rewarded the smart play when Adames rocked a center cut cutter into the gap for a double, scoring Wendle and Margot.
Tie game!— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) May 15, 2021
Willy Adames brings in Joey Wendle and Manuel Margot (from first!) to pull the @RaysBaseball even with the Mets in the fourth!
: Bally Sports Sun
: Bally Sports app pic.twitter.com/KjREIZGmBF
4-all! But we’re not done yet.
After two outs, a pitching change (Sean Reid-Foley), and a wild pitch, Austin Meadows pinch hit for Brosseau and drilled a double to right, scoring Adames.
Arozarena then singled to right, scoring Meadows.
Shane McClanahan went back out for the fifth, looking for a quick shut down inning. Which he got, sitting down the side in order on five pitches, including a strikeout of Lindor.
McClanahan worked one batter into the sixth before Cash pulled him for Andrew Kittredge. While not a great outing, the big lefty didn’t let the bad stuff spiral out of control. Sugar Shane’s line: 5.1, 6 hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts. He left in line for his first big league win.
The Rays failed to tack on in the bottom of the sixth against former Ray Tommy Two Towels, despite loading the bases with two outs on a Zunino walk, an Arozarena single, and a Lowe hit by pitch. But Diaz was unable to drive them in when he popped to short right.
Andrew Kittredge worked a clean seventh, going 1.2 perfect innings in all, striking out three.
In the bottom of the seventh the Rays again failed to add on. A Wendle double, a wild pitch, and an Adames walk put runners on the corners with one out. But a Zunino pop out and a Phillips ground out ended the threat.
Lefty Jeffrey Springs took over for the eighth, and immediately gave up a solo shot to Lindor, making it a 6-5 game. But Springs settled in after that, working through the rest of the inning despite walking Alonzo on some very close pitches.
The Rays finally added on in the eighth, and boy howdy did they. With the Mets sending out local product Jacob Barnes, Meadows welcomed him home with a single to center. An Arozarena single in the hole was followed by a Lowe walk to load the bases with no outs. That would be it for Barnes, as the Mets called on former closer Jeurys Familia to get out of the jam.
Familia did his job by getting the ball hit on the ground. But the luck dragons took the Rays side, and with a vengeance.
With the infield in, Diaz Baltimore chopped a double over Lindor, plating Meadows and Arozarena. 8-5 Rays!
Wendle then chopped another double past Lindor, scoring Lowe and Diaz. 10-5 Rays!
A couple of outs and a walk later, Phillips put one in the right center field gap for another double, scoring Wendle and Adames.
Cody Reid got the ninth for the Rays, and pitched around a Villar single while posting a scoreless frame. The last at bat was pinch hitter Jake Hager, who was making his Major League debut.
Tomorrow the Rays go for the sweep as Josh Fleming gets the start against Marcus Stroman. Game time is at 1:10 PM.