The rays overcome the wounds, the loss of Cruz to defeat the White Sox; Head to Philly after the day off – Sports Talk Florida
ST. PETERSBURG – Chris Archer’s return to the Rays on Sunday afternoon only lasted two rounds. Tightness in his left hip prematurely ended his outing on a day when the Rays also lost the services of Nelson Cruz and Ji-Man Choi.
Unsurprisingly, given their repeated endurance, the Rays overcame these obstacles by beating the White Sox, 9-0. It was the 12th time in 16 games that the Rays, who have three RBIs from Austin Meadows and Francisco Mejia, have scored at least eight points.
After losing in 11 innings Friday night, the Rays rebounded to take the series from the leaders of the Central American League. Sunday’s victory also extended their lead in the AL East to 4.5 games over the Yankees, whose scheduled Bronx game against the Twins was called off thanks to Tropical Storm Henri.
Archer, who didn’t seem too concerned about the injury, struck out four of the first five batters he faced, allowed a hit and walked one in his two innings. He was embarrassed by hip pain during his rehab stint at Triple-A Durham.
“He said it was the same hip, but maybe a little different,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We will ask the doctors to examine him and see how he feels tomorrow with a day off.”
Cruz was placed on COVID-19 IL before the game and Choi left after a set due to left hamstring strain.
“He woke up feeling unwell and chose to keep him away,” Cash said when asked about Cruz.
As for Choi, Cash said, “He said he felt (the hamstrings) when he hit the double. It tightened up when he was on goal and came to score (in the first set).
Choi, who doubled at first with one out, was replaced at first by Yandy Diaz, who scored two singles, walked and scored two runs.
The reliever Chris Mazza, who was fishing in Fort Myers on Sunday morning, was summoned to Trop to fill the void on the active list created by Cruz’s absence. The right-hander, who arrived at the dome in the second inning, came on in the fifth and pitched 1 1/3 innings scoreless.
The Rays got everything they needed when Meadows picked Choi at home to take the 1-0 lead first. The three RBIs give Meadows 88 on the season.
“It set the tone,” Cash said. “He’s a guy we really like at home when the guys are in position to score.
The Rays took a 3-0 lead with two points in the third and opened the scoring in the sixth with Francisco Mejia’s double goal clearance to make it 6-0.
Wander Franco’s third-inning double RBI extended his streak of reaching base safely to 24 games, tying the club’s rookie mark set by Rocco Baldelli in 2003. Franco, who has doubled twice with practice off the wall, hit it safe in 11 of 12, a stretch in which he hits .340.
The Rays hit the road for five games, starting with the first of two in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
Tom Layberger is also a writer for the Tampa Free Press and forbes.com