July 6, 2022

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Resilient Rays show mettle, stun A's with comeback win

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OAKLAND — The Rays took a while to prove that they possess a quick-strike offense in Tuesday’s game against the A’s at the Coliseum, but that offense struck at absolutely the right time.

The first career pinch-hit home run from Mike Zunino tied the contest in the ninth before the Rays tacked on five more runs in the 10th to beat Oakland, 10-7, taking the first two games of this three-game set.

“We were all pumped up, it was very clutch,” said manager Kevin Cash of Zunino’s game-tying homer. “It was a big, big win. Come from behind, early deficit, the guys just stayed at it.”

Despite hitting for the cycle as a team one batter into the third inning, the Rays trailed, 5-3, as starter Ryan Yarbrough struggled in his season debut. The left-hander, making his first appearance since last season due to left groin tightness, surrendered six hits and five earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, including a grand slam to Oakland’s Kevin Smith.

After falling behind early, the Rays’ stingy bullpen corps took over, with Ryan Thompson, Jeffrey Springs, Matt Wisler and Andrew Kittredge combining for 6 2/3 innings of two-hit relief work, keeping the Rays in the game until Zunino’s ninth-inning heroics.

“Just a great team win, and very appreciative of all the effort from the bullpen,” Cash added.

One thing this Rays team has shown throughout the season’s first month is that it’s a resilient bunch, with a lineup of potent hitters capable of getting big hits when necessary and picking up the pitching staff in the process.

On Tuesday, that meant putting together a five-run burst in the 10th to distance itself from the A’s and wrap a bow on one of the strongest full-team wins of the young season.

“We’ve grinded through some series and some games,” said Cash. “It’s been like that all season long, but it feels good when you’re able to come out on top.”

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