The hits came early and often as the Rays jumped in front and coasted to an 11-4 win. The game featured balks and un-balks, a team record six homers by six different Rays, a near-cycle, and a major league record 13th different player to record a save.
Let’s get to the nuts and bolts.
Randy Arozarena led off the game with a triple on the second pitch, and looked like Mercury as he sped around the bases in the bright yellow shoes.
Randy then “scored” when home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski called a “balk” on Andrew Albers. But Randy was sent back to third when the umps consulted and — called an un-balk? I guess?
(I actually did figure out what happened but it’s funnier this way, plus I don’t really want to waste words on balk rules because balks are stupid.)
Anyway, it was okay because Wander singled on the very next pitch, scoring Arozarena. This extended Wander’s on base streak to 106 or something.
Cruz followed with a flyout into the right field corner, which Franco smartly moved up on. And this really was a smart play. Wander recognized that it was either going to be a homer, a foul ball, or caught. So there was no sense in going halfway. He just tagged up and coasted into second easily. Which mattered, because Yandy Diaz followed by singling to right, scoring Wander.
The Rays put the game away in the second when they hung a five spot on the poor Albers. With two outs, Randy singled and Wander doubled, bringing Cruz to the plate with a chance to break it open. And it was then that home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski called a balk for realzies this time, scoring Arozarena. A long, agitated conversation between the umpire and Rocco and the Albers followed, and I gotta say, I’m with them. This really didn’t look balk-ish to me, but then again, does anybody really know what
time it is a balk is? When we finally got back to the action, a clearly flustered Albers walked Cruz, and then surrendered a three-run bomb to Diaz.
Luplow then made it back-to-back.
But they weren’t done! Margot and Arozarena hit solo homers in the third, and Cruz and Lowe hit solo shots in the fourth.
If you were scoring at home, that put Arozarena three-quarters of the way to a cycle after just the third inning. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to cash in. In the fifth, he was hit in the helmet (!) by a change up that kept riding in, and in the seventh, he swung at a 3-2 breaking ball that bounced a foot in front of the plate. Because who wants to walk when you have even the remotest chance at a cycle.
Meanwhile on the mound, Chris Archer was ... adequate? He didn’t have any sort of slider to speak of all day. But he powered his way through, working five innings, giving up four hits and four runs (2 HR) while striking out three and walking four. It got him some much needed work in game situations, and in the process notched his first victory since June 10, 2019.
Finally, there’s was Dietrich Enns, doing what a long man is supposed to do. After one scoreless inning from Stretch Armstrong, Enns worked the final three, gave up four hits, and struck out three. And thanks to the three inning save quirk in the rules, he became the 13th Ray to notch a save this year, breaking the record set by the 2020 Rays.
Your three stars of the game:
- Randy’s shoes.
- The Baltimore Orioles, who beat the Yankees 4-3 and helped the Rays extend their lead over New York back to 7.5 games.
- Whoever did this to Brandon:
Nobody's going to know... pic.twitter.com/noxjmWdO1k— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) September 4, 2021
The Rays and Twins wrap up the three game series tomorrow at 1:10 PM. Luis Patiño squares off with...um...Griffin Jax? Is that a real name?