Is it a winning streak if both wins are on the same day?
Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Isaac Paredes had himself a day. 3 for 5. 3 runs. 4 RBI. A triple shy of the cycle. But! Unlike the last
week month, he got some help from — I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s settle in for a soak, because this was a fun one.
Drew Rasmussen made his triumphant return against Thomas Hatch, who was making his first appearance with the big club this year.
This didn’t start out looking like a blowout. The Rays drew first blood, but it was a disappointing solo run, especially after they loaded the bases with no one out. The inning started with perhaps the quickest challenge in the history of replay, when Yandy Díaz inside-outed the second pitch of the game up the right field line. He hustled his way into second, and though he was called out on the field, it was overturned on replay. A walk by Franco and a take your breath away hit by pitch to Ramírez (right in the sternum) loaded the bases. Choi grounded into a run scoring 4-6-3 double play, and Randy had a noncompetitive strikeout.
Things got going in earnest in the second. Paredes started the inning by grounding a single through the left side. After a Walls flyout, Mejía turned on a heater up around the letters and ripped it into the right field seats.
The Jays answered in the bottom of the second, cutting the lead to 3-1. Two singles and a sac bunt put runners on second and third. A sac fly to deep center scored Hernandez.
The Rays again loaded the bases with no one out in the third, on singles to center by Franco and Ramírez and a walk by Choi. Again, a double play grounder killed the rally but plated a run. 4-1 Rays.
Oh, wait, did I say the rally was killed? Sorry, I didn’t see that Isaac Paredes was in the on deck circle.
Isaac Paredes just keeps raking them in pic.twitter.com/ILsLFxgXj6— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 2, 2022
Taylor Walls followed with a lined single to right, scoring Paredes.
In the bottom of the fifth, Ramírez and Randy had singles. And look! There’s that man again...
One out later, Mejía sneaked a big fly over the right field wall.
That would be it for Hatch. 4.2, 10 runs, 12 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts. And somehow he also benefited from three double plays behind him. That’s a rough day at the office.
Rasmussen gave up another run on a wild pitch in the fifth before being removed. Dustin Knight got the call and struck out Bichette to escape further damage.
The line for Rasmussen in his first time back was better than he deserved: 4.2 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. There were also a lot of hard hit balls. Lots of long, loud flyouts. And not many swings and misses. He benefited from some fortuitous defense, including a couple double plays, and fences that were not five feet closer. And to be fair — much like in game 1 — there was some abysmal umpiring behind the plate from Malachi Moore.
The Rays tacked another on in the sixth. Yandy Díaz led off with a walk. One out later, Harold Ramírez hammered one to left, scoring Díaz from first.
Vlad Jr. got that run back in the bottom of the inning, lifting a meatball from Knight out to left.
My advice to Dusty? Don’t throw that pitch in that spot anymore.
Knight ran into more trouble in the seventh, giving up a double to Espinal and a homer from Bradley Zimmer into the second deck. 11-5 Rays.
Knight’s night was done. 2.1 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 strikeouts. He did hang a few, but he also (like Rasmussen before him) was bitten by some curious calls. And his stuff is still kinda fun. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him.
Ralph Garza Jr. got the last two innings. He gave up a couple hits and a walk, but kept the Jays off the board.
Shane Baz takes on Ross Stripling tomorrow at 1:37 PM in rubber match of this five game set.