Is it just me, or does it feel like we just did this? Oh, right, we just did, and it’s the weird and terrible world of seven-inning doubleheaders, so that meant very shortly after the early afternoon Rays win, the Rays and Cleveland were back at it again.
Obviously, the Cleveland losing streak has continued, so we don’t need to dive too deeply into that, but the first game of the day was an offense-heavy affair, so the question was: did the Rays have it in them to have another high-scoring session in the later afternoon?
Things started in game two with a much quicker pace, that’s for sure. Collin McHugh was the Rays starter for the game and kicked things off with a quick 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the inning, Cleveland starter Hentges gave up a lead-off walk to Randy Arozarena, but that was the only man to get aboard in the inning.
McHugh had another 1-2-3 inning in the second. Hentges had a rough bottom of the inning. Mejia doubled, then Brosseau walked. Then a Taylor Walls single scored Mejia, giving the Rays an early lead for the second game in a row.
Fleming came on in relief of McHugh in the third, gave up a leadoff single to Mercado (this single was later ruled an error on Franco), but Clement hit into a double play, with some truly impressive glovework from the Rays infield, something they were showing all over the field in this game early on. (This is ignoring the fact that Franco and Walls collided in the game...)
Got the gloves workin' in Game 2 pic.twitter.com/EqZ8GuJ8Vr— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 7, 2021
The Rays went down in order in the bottom of the inning, and Cleveland did the same in the top of the fourth, this time with Josh Fleming on the mound for the Rays.
Things perked up a bit in the fourth, a Brosseau double with two outs put a runner in scoring position, then Walls singled to drive Brosseau home. Have yourself a day, Walls.
In spite of a walk to Miller, Cleveland was unable to make any headway in the fifth. Arozarena walked to lead off the bottom of the inning, then Cleveland had their own infield collision allowing Franco to reach on a single. A base hit from Yandy Diaz scored both Arozarena and Franco. Rays up 4-0.
Matt Wisler, who is absolutely missing a T in his name, came on in the sixth. With two outs he gave up a walk to Hernandez, but escaped the inning unscathed. In the bottom of the sixth Arozarena got a well-hit two-out double, but was not able to score.
The top of the seventh rolled around, and not only was Cleveland scoreless, but they were also hitless. Down to their last three outs the question wasn’t just “would the Rays win” but “would they win with an unofficial no-hitter?” Pete Fairbanks would be the man on the mound to make it happen. Groundout. Strikeout. Brujan outfield catch.
The Rays collected a 5-pitcher no-hitter, but because of the seven-inning restrictions, the no-no remains unofficial. It’s also the first time in Rays history they’ve won both games of a doubleheader at Tropicana.
Final: Rays 4, Cleveland 0