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Monday, Aug 20, 2018
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Tampa Bay Rays

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.

In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. In Sunday's 8-6 win, their fourth in a row, they banged out 14 hits. It's the first time the Rays have scored eight runs of more in three consecutive games since Aug. 14-16 in games at the Yankees and San Diego.

"This team is going to score runs and we're going to pitch,'' said infielder Daniel Robertson, who went 4-for-4 to raise his average .318.

"We complement each other very well. It's exciting to see that because I think a lot of people – I don't want to say were knocking our offense – but it's good to see it come to life because we know our pitching is going to be there. Our bullpen is really good. All around we're putting it together these last few series. That's three series wins and a sweep. You can't be any happier than that heading into an off day and heading into Baltimore.''

Robertson wasn't the only hitting star of the series.

–C.J. Cron hit three home runs in the past two days against the Twins, giving him five on the year. He had 10 RBIs over the nine-game stretch at Tropicana Field and has hit safely in 10 of his past 11 games.

–2B Joey Wendell went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .304.

–C Jesus Sucre  was 3-for-4 and is now batting .333 on the season.

–SS Adeiny Hechavarria blasted a three-run home run in the sixth inning to give the Rays a 6-3 lead. He's batting .484 (15-for-31) with runners in scoring position.

"We played well against Texas. Obviously, played well against Minnesota,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I think it talks to the energy and the youth that these guys have created here. We got off to a rough start and nobody really hung their heads. We were frustrated. It seems like we're kind of righting the ship a little bit here and you can only build off wins like this and series wins and today with a last-minute home run to win the ballgame, that adds even more.''

Twice the Rays bullpen squandered leads in the eighth inning or later against Minnesota, and twice the Rays battled back for wins in their last at bat. According to Robertson, you can call them the resilient Rays.

"This team, we don't quit,'' Robertson said. "I know it's kind of a cliche thing to say, but you know, when we have a lead and it seems like they're fighting back, we don't stop fighting. It's just the definition of our team.''

WELCOME BACK: After some early struggles, closer Alex Colome appears to be back to his old self. He got the win on Sunday after striking out the side in the ninth inning, allowing for Carlos Gomez's walkoff two-run homer.

"His last two outings he's thrown the ball well,'' Cash said. "Strikes. I just look up there. His stuff is his stuff. But if he's throwing it over the plate, he had 15 pitches or whatever it was and he had 15 strikes up there, he's attacking the zone, he's putting it on the hitter to make the decision and not making it for him.''

REUNITED: The Rays will face RHP Alex Cobb for the Orioles. Cobb is off to a rough start, having allowed 12 earned runs and 20 hits in seven innings over his last two starts. But Cobb, who played for the Rays from 2011-17, is credited for having a positive influence on many of their current pitchers.

"It's weird to see him in a different uniform on TV but it's really weird to see him on the mound throwing against us,'' Rays RHP Jake Faria said. "But it will be fun.

"Cobby was a big help for me last year, a really big influence. A lot of it was how to be a professional off the field. Not so much away from the field but when you're not pitching, just how to go about your day. You know, establish a routine and find out what works for you. He's a good guy to watch how he carries himself and how he goes about his business. Him and (Jake Odorizzi), because we were so similar in our repertoire, I learned a lot from both of them.''

RAYS RUMBLINGS: 1B Brad Miller sprained his ankle rounding third base and was easily tagged out in the first inning Sunday but stayed in and finished the game. … Hechavarria entered Sunday's game with an error-less streak of 69 games and 231 chances. It's the longest in club history for a shortstop, passing Yunel Escobar (33) in 2013. … Blake Snell is the first Rays pitcher to win three straight starts (without any no-decision in between) since Jake Faria from June 7-18 last season.

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