'We're legit': Full-team effort helps Rays edge LA

Tampa Bay pounds out 15 hits, 11 runs to wrap eventful homestand 7-3

May 28th, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays reliever 's job was already done when came to the plate with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

After a back-and-forth slugfest with the Dodgers in which no lead felt safe and clean innings were hard to find, Adam had pitched a scoreless inning to keep Tampa Bay’s one-run lead intact. Adam walked into the home dugout, and manager Kevin Cash told him he was out. The ninth inning, they knew, would belong to .

But Adam was still in the dugout, where he said he always stays an extra half inning “in case something weird happens.” Sure enough, something weird happened. Fairbanks’ hip locked up while warming up in the bullpen -- an injury that might send him back to the injured list -- and he couldn’t pitch.

Relievers Calvin Faucher and Joe LaSorsa quickly began throwing, but Adam told Cash, “Hey, I'm good if you need me.” So as Fairbanks walked gingerly back to the dugout, Adam returned to the mound and retired all three hitters he faced to seal the Rays’ wild 11-10 win over the Dodgers.

“That was a pretty gutsy performance,” Cash said. “Give him a lot of credit. I've never been in the position where you say, 'Hey, you're down,' but then, 'You've got to go back out.' He handled it about as well as you could ask.”

It was the first two-inning save of Adam’s career and his first two-inning appearance since Sept. 5, 2020. He threw 37 pitches, the third most of any outing in his career, and struck out a career-high-tying four batters.

And it was exactly the performance the Rays needed to secure a series victory and cap a 7-3 homestand that stretched their bullpen about as thin as possible by the time it was over.

“That was a crazy game,” Adam said. “To come away with a win in a well-fought game like that is big for everybody.”

Before Adam’s unexpected outing, a game that featured 27 total hits and a combined six home runs took its final turn on an infield single.
Leading off the seventh inning, beat a slow grounder to first base, hustled to third on a single and scored the game-winning run on a groundout.

Raley said he didn’t think he’d beaten reliever Victor González to the bag until his last step, when González hesitated just enough for Raley’s all-out hustle to win the race.

That was one of many highlights on the day for Raley, who also made a diving catch in left field in the first inning and a leaping catch at the wall in the fifth, while going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored.

“For all the offense for both sides, it was a hustle play that decided the ballgame. Raley had a great day,” Cash said. “Everybody offensively played a huge role.”

The Rays had six players with multiple hits and six who drove in at least one run. led the way, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs and winding up just a triple shy of the cycle. Tampa Bay put up 10 runs while scoring in each of the first four innings, highlighted by a six-run second against Dodgers prospect Gavin Stone, but Los Angeles had matched them run for run by the sixth.

The Rays felt they had to leave starter on the mound for six innings, even as he gave up 12 hits and five homers, due to their heavy bullpen usage over the past few days. Cash called upon seven different relievers in Friday’s victory, and starter Tyler Glasnow could only cover 4 1/3 innings in his season debut on Saturday.

That left Cash with essentially four relievers available behind Fleming entering Sunday’s 11:35 a.m. ET finale: LaSorsa, who arrived from Triple-A on Sunday morning; Jalen Beeks, who pitched a scoreless seventh after throwing 31 pitches on Friday; Fairbanks; and Adam, who stepped up with his best stuff of the season.

“That's the nature of the bullpen: Be ready whenever they call your name,” Adam said. “Just hoping Pete's OK. We need him. He's a huge part, obviously, for us.”

With their longest homestand of the season complete, the Rays will wake up Monday in Chicago having reached the Memorial Day milestone with a 39-16 record, the best in baseball, and the hottest 55-game start in franchise history.

“We’re legit. That’s all I can say,” Raley said. “We play hard for one another and do the little things that are going to help us continue to win games -- and win close games.”