Rays hang on for 1-0 win over Marlins
MIAMI – For only one run being scored over more than three hours of play, the Rays had to lot to unpack as they packed for New York with their lead in the AL East intact following a 1-0 win over the cross-state Marlins.
Indicative of how it’s been going for them lately, rookie catcher Anthony Bemboom, who had every reason to celebrate after rapping his first major-league hit to drive in the only run, was one of three players who were injured during the game. And, potentially, most seriously as the Rays improved to 26-15, just ahead of the Yankees, who swept a doubleheader from the Orioles.
Outfielder Guillermo Heredia was hit on the right hand while pinch-hitting in the fifth, stayed in initially but ended up getting an x-ray, which was negative. He was listed with a right hand contusion and is day to day.
Third baseman Yandy Diaz had to make an awkward stop rounding third when Willy Adames ground ball was deflected but then smothered in shallow left in the sixth and coach Rodney Linares switched from sending him to holding him. Diaz was checked initially then left the game an inning later with left ankle discomfort and is also listed as day to day.
Bemboom, whose double gave the Rays the 1-0 lead in the second, left after six innings with left knee soreness, and was to be further evaluated after the game.
That was a wicked turn of events, before a Marlins Park gathering of 5,947, second smallest of their season.
Earlier when Bemboom got his hit, his parents, Debbie and Greg, were not only watching after returning home to Minnesota after attending his debut, but took and then tweeted a video of their reaction, with the text: Wouldn’t miss it #gluedtotheipad
It was as awesome as you’d expect, as they were watching nervously, staring intently at their iPad and then clapping, throwing their arms in the air and celebrating.
There were other helping hands as the Rays protected the 1-0 lead.
Jalen Beeks, who took over after a one-inning opener stint by Ryne Stanek, allowed two singles in the fourth, but struck out Rosell Herrera to end the fourth.
After Emilio Pagan came on with two outs in the fifth and allowed two on, second baseman Brandon Lowe smothered a Starling Castro grounder up the middle and made the throw to end the inning.
Pagan created more trouble by allowing a walk and a double to start the sixth, but got himself out of it. He got Jon Berti looking at strike three, Herrera on an infield pop-up and Martin Prado on a called third strike.
Chaz Roe allowed a two-out double to Jorge Alfaro in the eighth and then balked him to third, but retired Berti on a pop-up to end it.
Bemboom was in the lineup because the Rays wanted to use as many lefty hitters as they could against Marlins starter Jose Urena.
“I’m sure he’s excited,’’ Rays manager Kevin Cash said, doing some good crystal ball work. “I liked his at-bat the other day. He came in swinging at the first pitch. Aggressive. We want to see that.
“We want to that (first) hit. Hopefully it comes with some guys on base.’’
Getting used to the Rays pitchers has been his primary task, and he has taken input from them, injured catchers Michael Perez and Mike Zunino, pitching coach Kyle Snyder and others, specifically in how he sets up.
“Communication is huge,’’ Bemboom said. “Talking with Snyder and the pitchers about what they like to do in certain situations. … I want to give them a good presentation, as close to the best presentation that they’re used to as I can. Whatever makes them comfortable I’m going to do, try to make it as seamless of a transition as I can.’’
Bemboom said his overall transition is easing after his harried, and flight-delayed, arrival on Friday, and that the reality of being in the major leagues has started to set in.
“A little bit,’ he said. “After that first day it was a little bit of a whirlwind but it’s slowing down a little bit for me and starting to feel a little more normal for me.’’
The chartered flight and the luxury hotel was a bit different. As were the dozens of congratulatory messages from family and friends.
“Quite a bit,’’ he said. “I haven’t had my phone blow up like in quite a while, if ever.’’
The Rays headed to New York after the game for a day off Thursday and then the second part of their back-to-back weekend series with the second-place Yankees.
Contact Marc Topkin at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.pe goes here.
Contact Marc Topkin at [email protected]y.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays