For the fourth time in six games, the Rays are victorious in extra innings.
ST. PETERSBURG — The hunt for October continues in extra innings. It seems we’ve been writing the same story just on different days! But the walk-off hits just continue to come – and they never get old. Tonight’s win marked the eighth time in the last 23 home games the Rays won on a walk-off.
The magic tonight was delivered by Ji-Man Choi and tonight – it took 12 innings, not the 11 we’ve been accustomed to.
“Just knocked the ball out of the park,” Rays Kevin Cash said after the game. “We knew he was a really good hitter. He has come up clutch a lot this year.”
For Choi, he’s now homered in back-to-back games. It’s the third time in his career he’s done so, the last time doing so was in August of 2018.
“During the game, I could see the ball well, but I wasn’t able to physically hit the ball well,” Choi said through his translator, Sam. “Before the at-bat I was thinking to myself why I couldn’t hit well so I was just waiting for the ball and I was able to hit the ball out of the park.”
Chirinos efficient evening
“I thought he was outstanding,” Cash said speaking about Chirinos’ outing. “I didn’t tell the truth. Our plan was to give him two innings and that was it, but he was so efficient that we felt comfortable going a third [inning]. We will see what we get the next time when he is going to pitch.”
Chirinos threw only 30 pitches in his three innings of work – with the Maybin home run the only hit he allowed. He walked and stuck out zero batters.
He’s now rocking a 3.65 ERA in his 130.2 innings of work on the season.
Kiermaier goes yard
In the fifth inning, the Rays got on the board with a two-out solo home run on Kevin Kiermaier‘s 14th long ball of the season. The homer ended a 1-for-28 slump and marked the 13th time he’s homered off a left-handed pitcher in his career.
“I know I’ve struggled lately,” Kiermaier said. “I don’t want the box score to depict how everything’s going. I’ve hit the ball very hard and it’s just not finding a lot of holes. I feel really good up there this whole time. I haven’t been down on myself.”
He’s now hitting .305 (36-for-18) against lefties this season.
The bullpen for the Rays tonight was down right dominant. They combined for nine shut-out innings allowing six hits and striking out 13 Yankees.
“Those guys stepped up so big today,” Cash said. “It was really, really impressive.”
Brendan McKay pitched 1.2 innings striking out three. Emilo Pagan pitched the eighth to the top of the Yankees lineup and came out without a blemish. Chaz Roe struck out the side in the 11th, getting Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit all swinging – with a Giancarlo Stanton single mixed in.
“There’s no nibbling at this point,'” Roe said after the game. “You’re attacking every guy with everything you’ve got. Everything is at stake right now and we come ready to play every day.”
What this win means
The win improves the Rays to 30 games over .500 – only the third time in franchise history they’ve reached at least 30 over.
They still remain a half game over the Cleveland Indians, who beat the Chicago White Sox 11-0 tonight with the help of Jose Ramirez– who homered twice and drove in seven runs in his first game back off the IL.
They gained a game on the Oakland Athletics, who lost 3-2 at the hands of the Los Angeles Angles.
The club is now 11-8 in extra innings, including an amazing eight straight wins in extras. Incredible to think at one point this team was 3-8 in extras with how they’re currently playing.
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