ST. PETERSBURG — This sport is not simple. You noticed that when the Blue Jays struggled simply to catch and throw the ball on Friday night time. You noticed it when Tampa Bay’s bullpen blew a save for the fourth time in eight days. You sort of noticed it when Mike Zunino missed two completely different house runs by a handful of inches.
And that is what makes Manuel Margot’s month of Might one thing to behold.
He was the most well liked hitter within the majors by means of the primary 9 days of Might — sat on the sidelines for 3 days with a young hamstring — and got here again to ship the go-ahead RBI single within the eighth of a 5-2 win in opposition to Toronto on Friday.
It was his sixth game-winning RBI of the season, tied for probably the most within the majors, and it was his fifth go-ahead hit within the eighth inning or later.
“Timing is all the pieces once you’re hitting, and I feel most hitters would agree with that,” supervisor Kevin Money stated. “Once you alter the timing, you miss some at-bats or miss some reps, it could actually have an impact. … It is very spectacular that Manny sat three video games, or no matter it was, and it felt like he was on all the pieces tonight.”
For the document, Margot is hitting .471 in Might (16-for-34) with three house runs and 14 RBIs in 10 video games. He entered the sport main the majors in common, slugging and OPS for the month.
“You do all the pieces you possibly can to remain in your routine,” Margot stated by way of crew interpreter Manny Navarro. “ (accidents) are going to be a part of the sport, and also you may calm down, however I am glad that the crew is doing effectively.”
The Rays did plenty of issues fairly effectively Friday. Beginning pitcher Drew Rasmussen was not overpowering however stored the Blue Jays off-balance with an assortment of sliders and cutters. Relievers Ryan Thompson and Andrew Kittredge got here into two dicey conditions and acquired massive outs.
The offense struggled in opposition to Kevin Gausman — as plenty of groups have in recent times — however was opportunistic when Toronto did not make some performs within the subject.
The Rays acquired their first run on a Brandon Lowe triple — one in all two he hit within the sport — that centerfielder George Springer appeared to misplay. Just a few innings later, a Gausman throwing error led to a different run.
In the meantime, the Rays have been taking part in stellar protection with leftfielder Randy Arozarena and shortstop Wander Franco robbing hits and Taylor Partitions beginning two beautiful double performs at third.
“You simply cannot give outs away,” Zunino stated. “It is a kind of issues we work extraordinarily laborious on. Our infielders work extraordinarily laborious, and our outfielders take pleasure in what they do. We all know if we make groups earn all the pieces and we do not give away any outs, we’ll stand a very good likelihood with our pitching workers.”
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The bullpen faltered briefly within the eighth when Brooks Kittredge gave up three consecutive singles to blow a 2-1 lead, however struck out Bo Bichette and acquired Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to hit right into a double play.
Zunino then led off the underside of the inning with a protracted drive to the rightfield that bounced off the highest of the padding for a double. Simply three innings earlier, Zunino hit a line shot that struck just under the yellow padding on the leftfield wall.
Partitions adopted with an infield single, then Margot drove within the go-ahead run with a two-strike single to proper to drive in pinch-runner Vidal Brujan.
“He got here up clutch,” Money stated. “He was in all probability the precise man in the precise spot to return by means of for us.”
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