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Arozarena adds to tear with Game 1 homer

@juanctoribio
October 6, 2020

Randy Arozarena continues to introduce himself to the baseball world, launching a solo home run off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole as part of a 3-for-4 night in the Rays’ 9-3 loss in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Monday at Petco Park.

Randy Arozarena continues to introduce himself to the baseball world, launching a solo home run off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole as part of a 3-for-4 night in the Rays’ 9-3 loss in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Monday at Petco Park.

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 5 NYY 9, TB 3 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 6 TB 7, NYY 5 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 7 TB 8, NYY 4 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 8 NYY 5, TB 1 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 9 TB 2, NYY 1 Watch

Arozarena was one of the hottest hitters in baseball in September, hitting seven home runs and posting a 1.022 OPS after being called up by the Rays on Aug. 30. Despite his success, Arozarena remains a secret weapon for the Rays. The Yankees got a firsthand look at it in the first inning of Game 1.

Cole threw Arozarena two breaking balls to begin the at-bat, both balls. Once Arozarena got ahead in the count, the 25-year-old Cuban outfielder was able to sit on a fastball, crushing a 96 mph fastball from Cole over the center-field wall to tie the game at 1.

Including the postseason, Arozarena entered the ALDS with a .902 slugging percentage on fastballs this year, the highest of anyone in the Majors with at least 40 at-bats.

'He stands out': Arozarena's star on the rise

Arozarena’s first-inning blast had an exit velocity of 107.3 mph, according to Statcast, and the outfielder knew it was gone right away, as he stared into the Rays' dugout and released a simple but effective bat flip.

After adding singles in the fourth and fifth innings, Arozarena laced a 111.7 mph lineout in the seventh in his final at-bat. He is 7-for-12 this postseason with four extra-base hits.

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.