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Rays Go Old School To Take Down Brewers in Homestand Opener

photo: Tampa Bay Rays/Instagram

All season, the Tampa Bay Rays have used their bats to outslug their opponents.  But Friday, they showed they can still win games in stereotypical Rays fashion, as Francisco Mejia’s sacrifice fly broke a scoreless tie in the eighth inning, and gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers to begin a ten-game homestand at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay scored their run without the benefit of a hit.  Luke Raley started by getting hit by a Peter Strzelecki pitch.  The first baseman would steal second base and go to third when William Contreras’ throw ended up in center field.  Mejia then battled back from down 0-2 to get a ball deep enough to left to score Raley.

The single run would be all the Rays needed thanks to a masterful performance by Shane McClanahan.  The left-hander threw seven shutout innings, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out seven.  He’d also get help from his defenders, with Josh Lowe getting an outfield assist throwing out Willy Adames at third base in the second inning, and Jose Siri robbing Tyrone Taylor of extra bases in the fifth.

Jason Adam, who took over for McClanahan in the eighth, would earn the win after striking out Adames and stranding the potential go-ahead run at third base.  Pete Fairbanks would earn his fourth save with a scoreless ninth in which he also stranding what would be the tying run 90 feet from the plate.

The win snaps Tampa Bay’s two-game skid, and they remain the only team in the big leagues to not have lost three straight games at any time this season.

Zach Eflin (5-1, 3.38 ERA) will look to give the Rays a series win Saturday afternoon, taking on Eric Lauer (4-4, 4.54 ERA) in the middle game of the series.  First pitch is scheduled for 4:10.

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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