A 400′ home run? More, please. (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

It took a while, but a sleep-deprived Tampa Bay squad returned from the Bronx and put up seven runs on the Royals, while right-hander Luis Patiño put together a fantastic outing, as the Rays cruised to a 7-1 win on Thursday.

At 63-54 on the season, the Rays enter play nine games over .500 and tied with Toronto for the second American League Wildcard spot.

Luis Patiño scattered four hits and two walks while striking out four batters over 5.2 scoreless frames. Patiño was recalled from Triple-A Durham (in so doing, right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis was designated for assignment to create space on the roster) and impressed in his first big-league start in nearly a month. The right-hander fanned only four batters, but he racked up 16 swinging strikes among his 86 pitches (63 strikes), and consistently pumped quality strikes — his 73% strike rate is a career-high for the right-hander in an outing of three or more innings. He also kept batters off balance, sprinkling in 20 sliders and 18 changeups to keep hitters off his mid-90s fastball, and limiting hard contact with only four hard-hit balls of the 17 put in play by Kansas City. Patiño didn’t surrender any extra-base hits and allowed only one runner to reach second base in his final inning of work. He was able to lower his ERA to 3.95, although his FIP remains high at 5.54 (with a 6.11 xFIP). Beyond that, the right-hander maintains an improved 1.61 WHIP and a 1.17 K/BB across 13.2 innings.

He’s a big, big weapon. If we can kind of bottle that up and see if we can continue to build off that, there’s no doubt. His last September and then in the postseason, he was as powerful as any pitcher in 2021. So if he can do that, get on that run again, he can really help us.

— Kevin Cash

Meanwhile, Yandy Díaz jump-started the Rays’ offense early. Díaz hit Max Castillo’s second pitch over the left-field wall for an early lead. It was his seventh home run of the season and sixth career leadoff blast. However, it was just one of three hits Castillo allowed over the first five innings.

Nevertheless, Tampa Bay broke things open six innings later.

Christian Bethancourt sparked the rally with a single to center before outfielder Roman Quinn collected his third hit of the night, a base knock to right. José Siri then beat out an infield single to short to load the bases. Díaz, who gave the team the early lead, extended the advantage when he chopped a ball over the head of Bobby Witt Jr. and into left, plating a pair. Brandon Lowe was next, singling to center past a drawn-in infield and putting the Rays up by four. Randy Arozarena also tacked on another run on a double before Brad Keller’s wild pitch capped the five-run rally.

Even though Shawn Armstrong allowed a solo homer to Michael Massey in the eighth inning, the long ball didn’t impact anything. In fact, Bethancourt answered in the bottom of the frame with a one-out solo homer to left, capping the scoring.

Armstrong finished out the game as the Rays used just two pitchers.

The New What Next

Shane McClanahan (11-5, 2.28 ERA) will get the start in the second game of the series, pitching opposite Brady Singer (6-4, 3.29 ERA).

Shane McClanahan got the start Saturday against Baltimore and gave up two earned runs on seven hits and three walks (tying a career high) while striking out four across six innings. He threw 100 pitches (65 strikes, 65% strike rate), and coaxed 20 swinging strikes. All the damage against the left-hander came in the second inning after Ramon Urias hit a leadoff double and Jorge Mateo hit a 60 mph single through the hole which allowed Urias to move up to third two batters later. Rougned Odor followed with an RBI ground ball through the left side, where the shortstop would have been hadn’t the Rays shifted — much to the chagrin of a visibly upset McClanahan. In the at-bat that followed, Robinson Chirinos hit an RBI single which gave the Orioles a temporary one-run lead. From then on, however, McClanahan only allowed two walks and two singles in his last four innings of work, keeping the Rays in the contest. No pitcher this season has recorded more swinging strikes while striking out four batters or fewer in a single game this season.

Brady Singer struck out seven in six scoreless innings while allowing one hit, three walks, and a hit batsman against the Dodgers on Sunday. Singer did not allow a hit until the fifth inning when Chris Taylor singled. Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, and Freddie Freeman went a combined 0-for-9 with three strikeouts against the right-hander who did his part to end the Dodgers’ 12-game winning streak. Singer has allowed one earned run or fewer in five of his last six starts and has a 1.64 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 3.67 K/BB across 38.1 innings in that span. He allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits across six innings against the Rays in July. Key Matchups: Roman Quinn (1-2), José Siri (1-2), Taylor Walls (2-5, RBI)

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.

Rays 8/19/22 Starting Lineup

  1. Lowe 2B
  2. Peralta LF
  3. Ramírez DH
  4. Choi 1B
  5. Arozarena RF
  6. Walls SS
  7. Quinn CF
  8. Paredes 3B
  9. Mejía C


— Yandy Díaz felt some left knee soreness after rounding third base on Lowe’s seventh-inning single, after coming to a hard stop and then turning around to get back to the bag. Díaz stayed in the game and scored on Arozarena’s double, although he was replaced by Yu Chang in the eighth, which was a precautionary move and, thankfully, nothing more

They’re giving me the day off, but since I’ll be on the bench, I’ll be ready to go for whenever they need me. And I’ll be supporting the team in the meantime.

— Yandy Díaz