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Rays 11, Cardinals 3: A guide to why you build an early lead

The Rays sure do like to make things interesting.

St. Louis Cardinals v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Hey hey, a Rays’ win that didn’t require a walk-off, that’s nice.

This game had it all. Non-review plays that went for the Rays when they shouldn’t. Review plays that went for the Rays when they definitely should. Cardinals relievers forgetting the number of outs and allowing an inning to keep going and a bunch more runs to score. It was definitely a wild ride.

Corey Kluber started things off for the Rays, and had a nice 1-2-3 first inning. In the bottom of the first Tampa Bay wasted no time to put some runs on the board. Margot singled with a hit right back at Cards’ pitcher Naughton, to put the leadoff man aboard. Ramirez grounded out but advanced Margot, then a Choi double scored Margot. An Arozarena double scored Choi, and a Brujan double scored Arozarena. The Rays found themselves up 3-0 very quickly, which would come in handy later.

Kluber’s consistency got a little wobbly in the second, with a two-out single to Yepez and a single to Bader, but no runs scored. Kiermaier singled to start the bottom of the inning, and an out to Walls was the last batter of the night for Naughton. Oviedo came on and aggressively tried to throw out Kiermaier, but missed the bag. Lucky for him time had been called so the stolen base didn’t count, but Kiermaier then quickly did steal second and while the Cardinals considered a challenge they decided not to, which was kind of silly because on review Kiermaier definitely should have been out. Ramirez then doubled to score Kiermaier. Holy RBI doubles, Batman.

Kluber had a tidy third, sending the Cards back to the dugout 1-2-3. Diaz singled to start off the bottom of the third, the Arozarena singled to send Daiz to third. Brujan grounded into a fielder’s choice which allowed Diaz to score. The Rays were now up 5-0.

In the top of the fourth, the Cardinals finally put one on the board with a solo home run from O’Neill, and I don’t mean to be mean, but I’ve never seen anyone in my life run around the bases on a home run in quite so funny a manner. The bottom of the inning saw the Rays go scoreless for the first time in the game, with only a walk issued to Margot.

Kluber’s good efforts continued into the fifth with another three-up-three-down outing. In the bottom of the fifth, Diaz walked and Mejia doubled, but it wasn’t enough to get Diaz home, so the Rays went scoreless again.

Edman drew a leadoff walk in the top of the sixth, followed by a Gorman single. Then a Goldschmidt single loaded the bases. O’Neill singled deep into the outfield to score two runs. The Rays were definitely happy for those early scoring efforts now. The O’Neill RBIs were the end of the night for Kluber whose final line was 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR on 80 pitches. Overall not a bad night out performance-wise, but O’Neill really had his number. A double play and flyout helped Adam end the inning.

The Rays wasted no time getting back into offense mode in the bottom of the sixth. Walls doubled to start off the inning, which would see eight men eventually come to the plate. Margot singled next. Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Walls. Choi singled, then a Diaz fielder’s choice sent Margot home, but he was tagged out at the plate. It is important to note that was the first out of the inning. Arozarena grounded out to the pitcher, but only because McFarland thought there were two outs and threw to first to get Arozarena out instead of throwing home, where Ramirez scored. Oops. With the inning continuing, Brujan singled to score Choi, and the inning only ended with a Mejia groundout.

Bard had a nice clean top of the seventh, and I feel like it’s a great time to remind you that the Cardinals have a player named Lars Nootbaar. That is all. Anyway, want another 8-batter inning? Sure, let’s do that. With two outs to start the inning it seemed it would be over quickly, but then Margot singled, followed by a Ramirez walk. With two on Choi singled to score Margot. Diaz then drew a walk, and a long Arozarena single scored Choi and Ramirez. Three more runs and the Rays were up 11-3.

Edman singled to kick of the eighth, but the Cardinals could not take advantage of the baserunner. If the absurd score wasn’t enough, Yadier Molina came on in the bottom of the eighth to pitch for the Cardinals. Catcher vs. Catcher saw Mejia get a single off Molina. Molina is no Brett Phillips but he did strike out Paredes much to the delight of Albert Pujols in the dugout. Margot doubled, to put two men in scoring position and then... wait... Phillips in to pinch hit?! Too bad it wasn’t an airplane moment, but an inning-ender. Still. Amazing.

Top of the ninth was all Armstrong, who gave up a leadoff single to Donovan. He collected the next three outs, though, and the game wrapped up with a win.

Final: Rays 11, Cardinals 3