ST. PETERSBURG — After a nasty 7-2 loss to the Yankees in Thursday’s season-sequence opener, infielder Taylor Walls made it tremendous the Rays weren’t going to be intimidated. Unique York jumped out to the finest inaugurate up in the Majors, and it aloof holds a 4 1/2-sport lead in the American League East, but as Walls stated of Tampa Bay, “We’re here. We’re going to be here all year.”
“That group’s very beatable,” Walls stated then of the Yankees, “and we all know we are able to beat them.”
The Rays proved him compatible the previous two days, earning a sequence split by beating Unique York the Rays’ scheme: with pitching and defense. Extra specifically, in Sunday’s 4-2 decide at Tropicana Field, it was once Shane McClanahan’s pitching and Walls’ defense.
Whereas McClanahan build together one other gem, dancing out of anguish against his six-inning inaugurate up, Walls homered in the fifth and pulled a pair of key spotlight-reel plays — an inning-ending double play he began in the sixth and a gracious hand over, scoot and throw in the eighth.
“It was once simply the Tampa Bay Walls,” McClanahan stated. “This sport was once partly gained due to of the prominent effort he gave, and we’re very lucky to hold him.”
Walls insisted Sunday he wasn’t attempting to throw any shade at the Yankees when he known as them “very beatable.” He simply intended that any group would possibly also also be overwhelmed on a given day, he stated, and he believes the Rays are excellent of a hit every time they accumulate the field. The order didn’t in truth register within Unique York’s clubhouse, but Walls understood it riled up some followers.
And he didn’t want any individual to tell him how intense the Rays’ rivalry with the Yankees can gain, although Tampa Bay has held the upper hand not too long in the past with motivate-to-motivate AL East titles.
“I enjoy just like the previous couple years, we hold roughly had their number. And this year, I enjoy like, especially the manner they’ve been having fun with to inaugurate up the year, they’re coming in with something to expose,” Walls stated. “So it was once appropriate kind to soar motivate after the two tough video games that we began the sequence with and gain two wins.”
After scraping together adequate offense to motivate starter Corey Kluber and three relievers in a 3-1 victory on Saturday, the Rays gained Sunday whereas being out-hit, 9-2. It was once the fifth time in franchise ancient previous they gained whereas recording two hits or fewer, and the essential time in club ancient previous they gained without recording a single, double or triple.
Ji-Man Choi hit a sport-tying homer in the 2nd inning, and Walls – batting .152 with a .502 OPS on the year – went deep in the fifth for simply his 2nd hit in his previous 34 at-bats and his first additional-indecent hit since May possibly possibly also 3. The Rays scored two crucial insurance protection runs in the seventh with out a hit; four Rays walked in a 5-batter stretch, then Mike Zunino was once hit in the motivate by Ron Marinaccio’s pitch.
McClanahan, who allowed a solo shot to Gleyber Torres in the 2nd inning but nothing else, improved to 5-2 with a 2.01 ERA and 81 strikeouts, most in the Majors. The left-hander has worked a minimal of six innings whereas permitting not more than one urge in four straight begins, the Rays’ longest such drag since Blake Snell for the length of his Cy Younger Award-a hit 2018 season.
In the 2nd inning, McClanahan passe a strikeout and a groundout to gain away a first-and-third, one-out jam. He struck out motivate-to-motivate hitters then coaxed an inning-ending groundout to defuse a runners-on-the-corners, no one-out jam in the third.
“When he crucial strikeouts, he obtained sizable strikeouts,” Rays manager Kevin Money stated. “When he crucial ground balls, he obtained sizable ground balls.”
What did he assume obtained him out of those jams?
“My defense,” McClanahan stated. “Taylor Walls.”
In the sixth, with two on and no-one out, that defense went to work.
Aaron Hicks ripped a line power to third indecent — but compatible at Walls, who snared it. Isiah Kiner-Falefa then hit a grounder to the left aspect of the infield, and Walls identified shortstop Bolt Franco didn’t hold a play on it. So Walls reduce off the ball and made a transient throw to 2nd baseman Vidal Bruján, who became and fired to Díaz to entire the double play.
McClanahan pumped his fists and shouted on his scheme off the field, then discovered Walls in the dugout. Later on, he supplied the protected-for-work model of what he stated.
“I stated, ‘You is inclined to be a indecent man,’” McClanahan stated, smiling. “Yeah, alongside the traces of that.”
Walls made one other sizable play in the eighth, this time at 2nd indecent. The Yankees had pulled within two runs on Aaron Take’s homer off Colin Poche, and that they had a runner on third with two outs and Hicks up. Hicks hit a grounder between Poche’s legs, but Walls anticipated the soar, made a sliding hand over, then became and sailed an on-goal throw to first indecent.
“Honest a spectacular play,” Money stated. “He did a big selection of issues to in truth succor us decide the ballgame. That play, the double play … and then the home urge, he needed to feel appropriate kind about it.”