With his team struggling at the plate recently and losing ground in the American League East, Tampa Bay’s Isaac Paredes used his bat to etch his name in the organization’s record book Tuesday.
The Mexican infielder slugged three homers and will look to keep up the power surge Wednesday when the Rays conclude their three-game series with the visiting New York Yankees in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Paredes, 23, became the first Ray to homer three times in the first five innings of a game and is the sixth player to hit three in a game. Former Tampa Bay star Evan Longoria did it twice.
“That’s a day he will not forget,” said manager Kevin Cash of Paredes, who had seven homers in his first 87 games. “We knew we were getting a young, talented player.”
Paredes was acquired in an April 4 trade that sent Austin Meadows to the Detroit Tigers.
In the ninth inning Tuesday night, Yankees skipper Aaron Boone got into a position he wanted to be in, sending Aaron Judge to pinch hit as the tying run with two outs. He lofted a deep fly to left, but Randy Arozarena recorded the out on the warning track to preserve the Rays’ 5-4 victory.
“We’ll chew on this one and try to win the series tomorrow,” Boone said.
Judge will have his arbitration hearing tomorrow via Zoom.
“It’s all business,” said the slugger, who has 25 homers and 50 RBIs. “For me, it’s plain and simple: I love this team, I love this organization and everything. But this is a business side of it that I don’t like at times.”
The Rays could use the punch of Paredes, who tops the club with eight long shots. In addition to Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Yankees, the Rays — now 3-6 against the division leaders — suffered injuries that have sidelined 2/3 of their starting outfield.
Kevin Kiermaier (left hip inflammation) and Manuel Margot (right knee) were placed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday. Margot, who paces them with a .302 average and is third with 27 RBIs, will undergo an MRI.
In their absence, the team called up infielder Jonathan Aranda (.310, 11 homers and 40 RBIs in 63 games) and outfielder Luke Raley (.299, seven homers and 25 RBIs in 24 games) from Triple-A Durham.
In his third start in 2022 and first at home, Shane Baz (0-1, 5.40) will try to win for the third time in the dome. In five career starts, the right-hander is 2-1, with both wins at home.
Baz made his lone career outing against the Yankees on Oct. 2, going 2 1/3 innings in a 12-2 Rays win the day before the 2021 season ended. He allowed one run on a single hit — Anthony Rizzo’s homer — while fanning four and walking two.
In 12 career starts against the Rays, New York starter Jordan Montgomery (3-1, 2.72) is 4-4 with a 5.02 ERA. They have hit .257 with 11 HRs — the most surrendered by Montgomery against any club.
Before Tuesday night’s defeat, the Yankees claimed pitcher Albert Abreu off waivers from Kansas City.
In 11 relief appearances for the Royals and Texas Rangers this season, the right-handed Dominican hurler posted no record and a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings, with 12 strikeouts and 16 walks.
–Field Level Media