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#1 Posted : 23 November 2022 01:13:20(UTC)

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Every time the Tampa Bay Rays have an ''opener'' game, that all-hands-on-deck feeling usually takes over, but most of the time that's just with the pitching staff.The Rays were in that mode on Saturday, beating the Texas Rangers 5-1 to inch closer to a postseason playoff spot. Nicolas Meloche Jersey They used six pitchers to scatter six hits on a planned ''Rays way'' bullpen day and to back to their winning ways, but the rest of the roster did its part, too. The Rays found a variety of ways to score, and it led to the Rays' 81st win of the year.It was a complete team effort, Rays center fielder Jose Siri said through interpreter Manny Navarro. The Rays' No. 9 hitter was 3-for-3 on the night, scoring two runs. Everyone did their part in contributing one way or another, and hopefully we can do that going forward.The Rays played small ball to score their first two runs in the first and third innings, getting a runner on and then over on a groundout and scoring on sacrifice flies. They added a third run when No. 8 hitter Taylor Walls hit his first home run of the season from the right side and tacked on two more when they went to their bench and Isaac Nathan MacKinnon Jersey Paredes doubled to right.A total team win."When you get to this part of the season, your stats really don't matter too much anymore. We're just trying to win games, Rays manager Kevin Cash said.The win coupled with another lo s by the Baltimore Orioles increased the Rays' margin in the wild-card race to 5 1/2 games with just 17 to go. They are six back in the American League East race, 1 1/2 behind Toronto for the No. 4 spot and a half-game ahead of Seattle for the fifth spot.The magic number Rays wins or Orioles lo ses to clinch a playoff spot is 12.They won Saturday with contributions from everyone. Outfielder David Peralta made two great defensive plays in left field, and Siri and Paredes has big nights to snap out of 1-for-17 and 0-for-16 skids respectively, the cold streaks stretching through the Rays' recent 1-5 stretch.And Walls, who had six homers from the left side, provided some offensive pop when they needed it most, too. His defensive prowe s is always there, and it's cherished, but the boost is nice from a .173 hitter who has filled in for Wander Franco for months but is still contributing around the infield."Even with Wander coming back, I was still very confident that he was going to play quite a bit,'' Cash said. "He's too special of a player defensively with how he impacts the game.Scroll to Continue"Some guys drive runs in and some guys prevent runs. I think Taylor has been on the side of preventing them, and we value those equally. I know I certainly do.''This was the 20th game this season that the Rays have used an ''opener,'' a concept they sort of created out of nece sity a few years ago. They are 11-9 Semyon Varlamov Jersey in those games, and it's more than just battling through a gap in the starting rotation.Shawn Armstrong started, his third as an opener, and got five outs.Lefty Ryan Yarbrough covered three innings, and got the win, his second of the year. Javy Guerra got out of a jam in the fifth, and thenJalen Beeks threw two perfect innings on just 15 pitches.That's the best hes looked in a while, Cash said of Beeks, who is 2-3 on the season with a 2.80 ERA but has had a few rough outings lately.Jason Adam and Brooks Raley closed out the game in the eighth and ninth. Adam allowed an infield hit, but then got a double play on a hard line drive back up the middle that just mi sed. Raley threw a 1-2-3 night to end it.Beeks put on a clinic today. Army put on a clinic. Yarbs shoved. Javy got that huge out. Brooks shut it down, Erik Johnson Jersey Adam said, doing roll call on a huge bullpen win. Who am I mi sing? Me. I didn't die. It's an awesome staff to be a part of.Adam has talked often about how much the Rays' tight-knit bullpen loves the ''opener'' days, because almost all of them are planning on getting work. They all root for each other, and revel in each other's succe s.''We are really close as a group, and we're always rooting each other on,'' said Adam, who has a 1.48 ERA and eight saves this season. "These days, we just take the ball and go, and it never matters when. Just cover the innings, and go in there and get your outs, whenever they may be.''The Rays drew 14,094 fans Saturday, and pa sed 1 million fans in home attendance for the season. They are the 28th team to reach that mark this season, with only Miami and Oakland still below the mark.The Rays and Rangers close out their season series on Sunday afternoon. Game time is at 1:10 p.m. ET. It's part of the final homestand of the season. They play Houston Monday through Wednesday night, and then close out the home season with four Blake Comeau Jersey more games against the Toronto Blue Jays.Related stories on Rays baseballRANGERS TAKE OPENER (Friday):In a span of just four pitches, veteran Rays starter Corey Kluber gave up a two-run double to Corey Seager and a two-run homer to former Ray Nathaniel Lowe, and that was all the Texas Rangers needed to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 on Friday night at Tropicana Field. RAYS 2020 SCHEDULE: Here is the complete 2022 Tampa Bay Rays schedule, with results of all the games so far and dates, times, and locations for the remaining portion of the schedule.
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