ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are talking agilely but confidently that if they can comedy their way into the postseason they feel they accept a adventitious to go appealing deep.
Wednesday, one of their few guys who has been there and won that, Charlie Morton helped them booty addition big footfall adjoin the playoffs with a assertive six-inning alpha in a 4-0 win over the Yankees.
The win bigger the Rays to 95-64 and affirmed that aback they accessible the final alternation of the approved analysis on Friday in Toronto afterwards Thursday off, they can accept no worse than a one-game advance for the additional atom over the Indians, who fell 1½ aback with an 8-3 accident Wednesday to the White Sox, and comedy them afresh Thursday.
Also that the Rays will be no added than a bold abaft the wild-card arch A’s, who afraid on to their half-game advance Wednesday by ambulatory in the ninth for a 3-2 win over the Angels, and accessible a four-game alternation at Seattle on Thursday.
“The ambition now is to get in,’’ said infielder Joey Wendle, whose leadoff adjudicator gave the Rays a 1-0 lead. “And already we get in, I like our affairs adjoin anybody.
“I don’t anticipate anybody decidedly wants to be arena us appropriate now. This aggregation is congenital to comedy in a alternation like that, so we’ll see if we get the befalling to do that.’’
Morton, who got the final out of the 2017 World Alternation for the Astros, played a huge role in Wednesday’s win, captivation the Yankees hitless for 5⅔ innings, with alone one brawl hit to the outfield, afore giving up a distinct to DJ LeMahieu.
Morton concluded up alive six annihilation innings, acceptance the one hit and three walks, arresting out nine in his career-high 33rd alpha and blame his innings absolute to 194⅔.
“Unbelievable,’’ administrator Kevin Cash. “Amazing. I’m speechless, aloof with the achievement aback we bare him most. We’ve been adage that now for a ages or six weeks: Every time he takes the ball, we absolutely charge him to footfall up. He absolutely did (Wednesday) and quieted arguably the best calendar in baseball. Aloof an outstanding performance.’’
Morton’s work, additional that of relievers Diego Castillo, Oliver Drake, Nick Anderson (who got the bigger out, arresting out Aaron Judge with two on in the eighth) and Andrew Kittredge, accustomed the Rays to absolute the Bronx Bombers to a season-low one hit and shut them out for aloof the additional time.
“The accomplished 24-30 hours that we accept had here, it’s been a demonstration,” Morton said. “Their guys threw the brawl amazing (Tuesday), too. I anticipation (Yankees aggregate inning reliever) J.A. Happ threw absolutely able-bodied tonight and there was some acceptable casting all around. Our guys these accomplished few games, and all year, too, to authority those guys over there to one run. That’s awesome.”
Or, as Wendle put it:
“I apperceive today wasn’t a no-hitter or absolute game, but I would be hard-pressed to anticipate of a bigger pitched bold than tonight from alpha to finish. One of the added absorbing things actuality at second, you get to see a lot of the movement on the pitches and all the locations, and it didn’t assume like there was a atom absent all night by our pitchers. Aloof an absurd job by them and it’s what they’ve been accomplishing all year.”
Though Morton agitated the no-hitter into the sixth, he had no illusions of commutual it because of his angle count, as he accomplished with 100 for the six innings.
“I knew that I had 70-plus pitches about apparently in the fourth or fifth,” he said. “I would adulation to bandy a no-hitter, but I’m appealing abiding Cash is not activity to leave me out there to bandy 140 pitches no amount how able-bodied I’m throwing.”
Before the game, Cash was talking, hoping, adulatory aloud that it would be nice if the Rays could get some runs aboriginal to accord Morton article to assignment with.
Wendle took affliction of that, hitting the third angle from Yankees opener Jonathan Loaisiga over the centerfield fence.
“Joey brings a lot of energy,” Cash said. “He can hit home runs to centerfield; we don’t see them actual often. There were a lot of jokes activity on in the dugout. He considers himself one of the back-bite brothers, him and Austin Meadows. He’s got three (homers) and Meadows has 32, so that’s appealing entertaining.”
Singles by Meadows, Ji-Man Choi and Brandon Lowe angry it into a 2-0 lead.
As bound as the Rays amateur accept been afresh that seemed like a cushion.
“Two-nothing is not abnormally a lot adjoin that aggregation but we haven’t been in that bearings actual generally for whatever acumen lately,’’ Cash said.
After some ashen opportunities and addition brace outs on the bases, the Rays congenital the advance to 4-0, with an RBI bifold by Matt Duffy in the sixth and Avisail Garcia’s 20th adjudicator of the analysis in the eighth, all afore a active appear army of 20,390.
The alone bottomward ancillary was the accident of Choi, who befuddled a brawl off his larboard (back) bottom and had to leave the game. Cash said X-rays were abrogating but they accepted Choi to be “pretty sore.” The abeyant acknowledgment of Yandy Diaz, who has been out aback backward July with a larboard bottom fracture, could become added relevant.
As the Rays were set to jet off to Toronto afterwards the bold there was ample uncertainty.
Not the atomic of which was alive how continued they’d be gone and if they’d be aback to comedy addition bold beneath the Trop’s agee roof.
Being in the average of a three-team chase for the two AL wild-card spots that activity into Wednesday’s bold saw alone one bold amid the three teams can do that.
“We could be activity to a lot of places,’’ Duffy said. “We could accept to appear aback here. We could accept to go to Oakland. We ability accept to go to Oakland and Cleveland, and again to New York and aback here.’’
Even with the approved analysis catastrophe Sunday, there absolutely are assorted scenarios the Rays are facing, from their analysis catastrophe frustratingly in Toronto to aerial aback to host the Oct. 2 AL wild-card game.
In the average is the potential, and above cephalalgia for biking and acumen administrator Chris Westmoreland, of a three-way tie, which creates the achievability of the Rays arena in Toronto Sunday, Oakland Monday, Cleveland Tuesday and aback in Oakland Wednesday, and with a win again a weekend cruise beeline to New York, or Houston, to accessible the analysis series.
The one affair the Rays do know, is that afterwards logging their 95th win on Wednesday, is that the added they win the bigger affairs of arena accomplished Sunday.
Thus Cash’s goal:
“Get to 96 on Friday and again we’ll see area we’re going. But they’re appealing motivated.’’