After scoring only nine runs in their previous four games, all losses, the Rays matched that total in Sunday’s 9-3 win over the White Sox.
The win enabled the Rays (5-5) to salvage one of three games on Chicago’s south side before heading to Wrigley Field for three games against the Cubs starting Monday night.
“I am happy we pulled out a win,” said manager Kevin Cash. “Three or four losses in a row can frustrate any club.”
Errors in the field and on the basepaths hurt dearly in the first two games of the White Sox series, both 3-2 setbacks in which Rays pitchers did not issue a single walk.
J.P. Feyereisen made the first start of his career, at any level, Sunday and threw two perfect innings (three strikeouts) before giving way to Chris Mazza. Mazza walked five batters, hit one, and uncorked a wild pitch in 2 1/3 innings, though the righthander limited the damage to a pair of runs and picked up the win.
The offense was the story, though, as eight of the nine batters reached base at least once with seven recording at least one hit.
On Monday night, the Rays will send Shane McClanahan (0-1, 3.00) to the mound against Kyle Henricks (0-1, 7.00).
Fourth trip to Wrigley: The Rays are 8-5 all-time against the Cubs, including 4-4 at Wrigley Field. Their first trip to the historic ballpark in 2003 resulted in losing two of three. They took two of three in 2014 and split a pair of games in 2017.
After three sunny days with temps in the 40s against the White Sox, a mix of rain and snow could play havoc with Monday night’s series opener.
Slump buster?: Randy Arozarena went 3-for-5 Sunday (two doubles) after going 3-for-25 in his previous six games. He drove in a run and scored a run to match his total in both categories going into the afternoon.
While not exactly the day Arozarena had, Kevin Kiermaier and Josh Lowe each hit safely Sunday. Kiermaier was 2-for-18 without an RBI in his first seven games before singling and driving in a pair of runs.
Since going 2-for-4 in the second game of the season-opening series against Baltimore, Lowe had only one hit in 22 at-bats with 11 strikeouts as he headed to the plate in the ninth inning. The left-handed-hitting outfielder, who took a home run away from Tim Anderson in the first inning, singled and came around to score the game’s final run.
Barreling along: As Bally Sun commentator Brian Anderson noted during Sunday’s telecast, the barrel of Wander Franco’s bat has a way of meeting many pitches. Two of his outs Sunday were on balls that left his bat at more than 100 mph. He also had two hits, a single and a double, giving the 21 -year-old shortstop six multi-hit efforts in the Rays’ first 10 games. He went 5-for-13 in the three games against the White Sox and heads into the three-game series at Wrigley hitting .381.
Beeks impressive again: Lefty Jalen Beeks continues to look sharp after missing last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He got the Rays – and Mazza – out of a tough spot in the fifth and retired all five batters he faced. Beeks has not allowed a run in three appearances and 5 1/3 innings.
“He’s nasty and he’s been throwing the ball really well,” said Cash. “We have a lot of conversations ahead of us about his workload and coming back from an injury.”
Romero to Durham: Righthander Tommy Romero, who pitched the last two innings Sunday and allowed a Gavin Sheets homer in the ninth, was sent to Triple-A Durham following the game. Romero made his MLB debut last Wednesday when he started against Oakland. He walked five batters and was charged with three runs in 1 2/3 innings.
Javy Guerra, acquired from San Diego for cash considerations on Saturday, will join the bullpen at Wrigley. The 26-year-old righthander from Panama is a converted shortstop who made 27 appearances in parts of four seasons (8.46 ERA) with the Padres. His lone appearance this year was a two-inning stint at Arizona in which he allowed four runs.
42: The 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier was celebrated through the majors on Friday. Though the Rays were on the road playing the White Sox, the organization honored the anniversary by selecting five local non-profits as Racial Equity Grant Fund recipients with each receiving $20,000 toward bolstering their programs.
The team also hosted an event at Belmont Heights Little League in Tampa, which received equipment from the Rays. Dwight Gooden, Gary Sheffield, Carl Everett and Derek Bell are among those you played at Belmont Heights.
All fans attending Friday night’s series opener at the Trop against the Red Sox will receive a Jackie Robinson No. 42 hat.