Rays Game 17: Offense Finally Awakens in Comeback Win

By Joe Saunders

The Rays’ offense has been abysmal over the past two weeks and it finally came alive on Friday night during the 11-5 victory over the New York Yankees. Rays’ starter Erik Bedard only lasted 3.2 innings but the bullpen picked him up and held on to give the Rays’ bats a chance to catch up. The offense pounded out 16 hits and scored 9 runs in their final 3 at-bats.

The Yankees struck first in the 2nd inning when Scott Sizemore’s double to left center field with bases loaded scored 3 runs. Centerfielder David DeJesus made a great diving effort on the ball but came up just short. One has to think Desmond Jennings probably catches that ball had he been in centerfield but he was scratched from the lineup. The Yankees ended up scoring anotherrun  that inning on a fielder’s choice. The Rays’ had some bad luck against Yankees’ starter Hiroki Kuroda and hit several hard balls but couldn’t find any holes. The offense finally broke through and scored 2 runs on a James Loney double in the 4th. Wil Myers singled in another run in the bottom of the 6th but the Yankees answered with another run in the top of the 7th on an Alfonso Soriano single.

The Rays then started another rally in the bottom of the 7th. A Desmond Jennings pinch-hit single with 2 outs scored one and then an Evan Longoria walk set up a big at-bat for James Loney. After falling behind in the count 1-2 against Yankees reliever Adam Warren, he lined a base hit over the second basemen’s head to put the Rays ahead 6-5. The offense wasn’t finished yet though. In the bottom of the 8th inning Sean Rodriguez hit a 2-run homer and the Rays scored 3 more times to put the game away. Yankees’ reliever Cesar Cabral couldn’t even record an out in the inning and was ejected after hitting 3 batters to cap off a horrendous night for the Yankees’ bullpen in which they allowed 8 runs.

Rays’ starter Erik Bedard on threw 73 pitches on the game and did not appear to be completely stretched out. Will the Rays give him another start? Brad Boxberger threw 2 shutout innings after Bedard departed which was key in turning the momentum around in the game. Boxberger’s changeup was nasty and got several swinging strikes on it. He was optioned back to Triple A Durham after the game, but he could be back before long. Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Brandon Gomes combined to close out the last 3.1 innings of the game.

At the plate, Evan Longoria set the tone for the offense by going 3 for 3 and reaching base 5 times on the night. Wil Myers ended up going 3 for 5 on the night with 3 RBIs and James Loney finished 2 for 4 with 4 RBIs. Overall the Rays’ offense worked solid at bats up and down the order on the night.

The Rays take on the Yankees again Saturday at 7:10. Chris Archer will take the mound against Ivan Nova. Check back here for the game preview.