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Rays 10, Athletics 7: Late Night Heroics in the Wild, Wild West

It’s okay if you went to bed.

Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Ryan Yarbrough made his first start of the season in this game and it didn’t go very well for the soft-throwing lefty. He gave up a chunk of runs in the first inning and for about two and a half hours I thought this game would disappear into the baseball abyss faster than you could click on this recap. I say we forget about tonight, welcome Yarbrough back to the rotation, and blame home plate umpire Jim Wolf for his final line.

In lieu of further details, I present to you Drew Rasmussen talking about his first car on the much-beloved Bally Sports Sun segment, Late Night with the Rays.

The middle innings happened and both teams’ bullpens worked effectively and efficiently. Jeffrey Springs pitched 3.1 shutout innings, allowing just two hits and recording two strikeouts. He was preceded by Ryan Thompson and immediately followed by Matt Wisler. The three of them combined to keep the score at 5-3 in favor of the Athletics going into the ninth inning. The three Rays runs came courtesy of a Brandon Lowe RBI double, and a two-run home run from Brett Phillips.

With a two-run lead, Oakland manager Mark Kotsay opted to bring in left-handed reliever Kirby Snead to close the game. He hold on to his closer, Lou Trivino, who was just activated from the COVID-IL earlier on Wednesday. With Brandon Lowe, Manuel Margot, and Kevin Kiermaier due up, bringing in the lefty made sense.

But Kevin Cash had preserved his three-man bench to this point, all three being right-handed hitters. Brandon Lowe was lifted for Isaac Paredes, who worked a nine-pitch at bat before lining out to right field. Margot singled to center, and then Mike Zunino came in to hit for Kevin Kiermaier. Zunino had one job, hit a home run.

After the Zunino bomb, Taylor Walls singled and moved to third, but was stranded there to end the inning. Andrew Kittredge came in for the bottom of the ninth, and forced extras by retiring the A’s in order.

Here’s where it got wild. Harold Ramirez, who pinch hit in the ninth and was the last batted out of the inning, started the tenth on second base. Yandy Díaz does what he does best, torment the Oakland Athletics. He doubled home Ramirez to give the Rays their first lead of the game.

Wander Franco was intentionally walked, giving the Rays two baserunners. Arozarena moved the runners over to second and third on a ground out to shortstop, and Isaac Paredes singled them both home to extend the lead.

Margot tripled home Paredes, Zunino singled home Margot, and for those of you that blinked, the Rays are now up 10-5.

With the lead looking pretty safe, Kevin Cash let Andrew Kittredge take a seat and left his typical high-leverage arms to relax in the visitor’s bullpen. Enter Jason Adam, who to this point had pitched nine innings in relief without allowing a hit. Seems like closer material to me.

Oakland made things slightly interesting after Sheldon Neuse doubled home the zombie runner and Sean Murphy kept the game alive with an RBI single to make it 10-7. Any worries about Oakland forcing an 11th inning were put to bed when Seth Brown grounded out to Isaac Paredes to end the game.

Although this game was full of excitement in the late innings, I won’t blame you for having gone to bed on this one, and I hope this recap is the pleasant surprise you needed to kickstart your Wednesday morning.

In all seriousness, this game belongs to Kevin Cash and the Rays bullpen. Thompson, Springs, Wisler, Kittredge, and Adam pitched a combined 7.2 innings, allowing just one earned run. Kevin Cash beat Mark Kotsay in the chess match, and clinched the series victory because of it. The road trip is off to a fine start.