Fresh off dramatic comeback, Rays look to down Tigers again

MLB Baseball

The Tampa Bay Rays, who stole a victory from the Detroit Tigers on Friday, will look for their third consecutive win in the four-game series on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Rays (92-56) rallied from a three-run deficit in the ninth to tie the game, then won it in the 10th on Brett Phillips’ three-run homer.

“Just a lot of really big at-bats,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said of the 7-4 triumph.

Austin Meadows drove in the Rays’ first run of the game, giving him 100 RBIs for the season.

“Getting 100 RBIs is pretty special on this team where we utilize a full roster,” Cash said. “You’re not sitting out there getting 600 at-bats all the time. We’re utilizing the entire roster, so Meadows has made a lot of those big hits count for him.”

The Rays may use a bullpen arm to start Saturday’s game, but Ryan Yarbrough is slated to pitch the most innings if he overcomes his recent woes.

Yarbrough (8-5, 5.27 ERA) was clobbered for seven runs on eight hits in two innings against the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 6. He got pounded again on Monday, this time in relief, as Toronto scored seven runs on 10 hits before he was removed after getting seven outs.

“It’s a kind of continuation of the last one, so not really the best outing or feeling right now,” Yarbrough said afterward. “Extremely frustrated with some things, and it’s just a matter of just having to continue to go back to the drawing board and kind of figure out what’s going on … because the way things are going right now, it’s not great.”

Rookie left-hander Tarik Skubal (8-12, 4.21 ERA) will start the game for Detroit (70-78), but he won’t be around long enough to qualify for a victory. Skubal has been placed under a three-inning limit for the remainder of the season.

In his first three-inning start this month, he allowed two runs at Pittsburgh on Sept. 6. He was stellar in his short appearance against Tampa Bay on Sunday, giving up just one hit and a walk while striking out six in three scoreless frames.

“He came in hot and we like that,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “That was one of his best fastball days in a while. I think the last start (against the Pirates) bothered him a little bit.”

Hinch used eight pitchers on Friday, and he’ll have to tax his bullpen arms once again.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t finish off the night because we played pretty good tonight to put ourselves in a position to win,” he said. “They did a good job of hanging in there with us.”

Hinch sensed that the Rays would stage a rally.

“We lived on the edge a lot during the night,” he said. “They had some opportunities and we were able to escape a few bad innings. They were a little bit of a ticking time bomb at the end. They did start to put up some really good at-bats.”

–Field Level Media

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