Garcia's inside-the-parker leads Rays to victory

May 29th, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- is known for his towering home runs, including a team-best 471-foot blast against the Marlins on May 14, but his home run in the 3-1 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday at Tropicana Field was different than his previous 85 career home runs.

With the Rays leading 1-0 in the third inning, Garcia skied a 2-0 pitch from Toronto starter Clayton Richard to right field. It appeared that Garcia hit a routine fly ball and was going to be the first out of the inning, but Randall Grichuk lost the ball in the Tropicana Field roof, and it landed behind him and rolled all the way to the wall. That allowed Garcia to speed around the bases for his first career inside-the-park home run, and his 10th home run of the season.

“It was great. You have to take whatever they give to you,” Garcia said. “I’m not going to forget this.”

It took Garcia 16.69 seconds to round the bases, but that’s largely in part because it took the Rays' outfielder 6.24 seconds to go from home to first, since he appeared to think it was going to be caught. Garcia’s sprint speed on the home run was 28.0 ft/sec, according to Statcast, which is above the league average of 27.0 ft/sec.

“I was like standing at the plate because I missed the pitch,” Garcia said. “I started hearing my teammates yelling, ‘Run! Run! He lost it!’ so I started running harder. It was a great moment.”

The inside-the-park homer was a career first for Garcia and he was surprised when third-base coach Rodney Linares waved him home as he rounded third base. He was greeted in the dugout by his teammates, who all had two fingers in the air.

“That’s my handshake with everybody,” Garcia laughed. “Me and my boy [Blake] Snell.”

It’s the second inside-the-park home run hit by the Rays this season, with Kevin Kiermaier recording the other one on Thursday against the Indians. Garcia's is the first inside-the-park home run hit by a Rays player at Tropicana Field since David DeJesus on Sept. 7, 2014, against Baltimore.

While Garcia had to leg out his home run, Austin Meadows hit his 12th homer in a more conventional way. Meadows continued his hot streak at the plate, launching a solo home run in the seventh inning off Blue Jays reliever Thomas Pannone. The Rays’ outfielder went 2-for-4 on Tuesday and is 9-for-13 with three home runs in his last three games.

“I’m seeing the ball well,” Meadows said. “There’s a lot of ups and downs in baseball. Right now, I’m obviously having an up. I’m going to continue riding it as hard as I can. I just credit that to my work in the cage and I just try to go about my day and have fun. That helps me perform.”

Yarbrough effective again
Since being recalled on Thursday, Ryan Yarbrough has been a much-needed addition to the Rays’ pitching staff. Yarbrough allowed two runs over 7 1/3 innings pitched in his last start against Cleveland and followed it with another solid outing on Tuesday, allowing two hits and striking out one over 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief.

“He’s just throwing more strikes,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash, when talking about the difference with Yarbrough since he returned to the team. “He’s controlling the count better. Stuff appears to be the same. Yarbs does a good job and he goes out and competes.”

Yarbrough, who won 16 games as a rookie last season, credits his recent success to his time down in Triple-A Durham with pitching coach Rick Knapp. The left-hander said he benefited from getting stretched out as a starter, which also allowed him to get into a better rhythm on the mound. Over his last two outings, Yarbrough has seen his season ERA drop from 8.10 to 5.53.

"I feel like the confidence is doing really well," Yarbrough said. "It's something [where] I've got the timing and rhythm down so well right now that I know exactly where everything is going, and when you kind of know what you're doing and where the ball is going to end up, it's definitely a good feeling and builds confidence after a couple of good outings like tonight."