Rays show resiliency, resourcefulness in rallying past Red Sox

·4 min read

ST. PETERSBURG ― Slumped on the clubhouse floor in front of his locker, a large ice pack around his right knee that was spiked and his left elbow throbbing, Vidal Brujan certainly didn’t look like one of the Rays’ stars of the game.

But Brujan being hit by a pitch to start the seventh inning sparked the two-run rally that sent the Rays to a 4-3, come-from-behind victory over the Red Sox.

The win illustrated the diversity of their offense, as they combined contact, speed and clutch hitting — specifically from two of their veterans, Manuel Margot and trade-deadline acquisition David Peralta.

And the Rays showed some more of their resilience and desire in bouncing back from Sunday’s frustrating, sweep-depriving loss to the Yankees.

“We battle every at-bat, every inning, and we never give up,” said Peralta, who doubled in the winning run. “We had a tough game — not even a tough game; it was a good game (Sunday) — but we turned the page and we came with the same mentality today.”

The win was the Rays’ sixth in seven games, 12th in their last 15 and an American League-most 21st in 30 games since Aug. 3 as they improved to 75-58. They stayed within five games of the East-leading Yankees, who beat Minnesota, and are tied for the top AL wild-card spot, thanks to Seattle’s loss.

Luis Patino came up from Triple-A to step in for injured ace Shane McClanahan and gave the Rays five decent innings, allowing a homer on his 11th pitch (to Sox No. 2 hitter Alex Verdugo), then two runs in a messy 32-pitch third. But the bullpen did its usual strong job in keeping the game in check, allowing the offense time to show the different things it can do.

“They started the first inning with a homer, but we were like, ‘OK, we’re going to get it back,’ ” Peralta said. “And that’s what we did.”

The Rays got one run in their half of the first inning on three soft singles (none hit harder than 80 mph). Down 3-1, they got another in the fifth thanks to Jose Siri’s speed, as he beat out a grounder to the left side for a single, then scored when Randy Arozarena doubled off the leftfield wall; Sox outfielder Franchy Cordero sprained his right ankle on the play.

That led to the seventh inning, and the Rays’ first comeback win from a multi-run deficit in a month. It also was their MLB-most 25th victory without a home run.

Brujan was hit by Jeurys Familia, then stole second. Siri, with another good at-bat, took five pitches then moved Brujan to third with a rightside grounder. “They did a tremendous job,” Margot said, via team interpreter Manny Navarro.

Then Margot did his, slicing the next pitch to right-centerfield to score the tying run while he raced to second. That was his eighth hit this season in the seventh inning or later to deliver a tying or go-ahead run, second most in the majors despite missing two months with a knee injury.

“Manny’s got a knack for coming up with big hits for us,” manager Kevin Cash said. “He did.”

Margot moved to third on a ground-out off Zack Kelly, then Peralta — hitting .417 with runners in scoring position since his July 31 arrival — doubled just inside the first-base line.

“We have a good lineup,” Margot said. “I think everyone here kind of knows their own role, they know what they need to do, what they need to do to help this team.”

Having some hitters who have been there and done that before is a key part.

“It’s very beneficial,” Cash said. “Experienced hitters that have lived the moment a little bit, I think that certainly helps.”

For what the Rays are trying to do, every little bit helps.

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