Rays sweep Marlins in the final homestand of the season

Rays clinch American League East and then continue to dominate Marlins

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mlb.com

Rays clinch the AL East and head to the postseason.

Ethan Caswell, Staff Writer

There is excitement in the air at Tropicana Field this Sunday afternoon.  In an afternoon where attendance is high, following a sold-out crowd on Saturday, the final game of the last homestand of the season finished with a solid 3-2 Rays win. This results in a Rays’ sweep of the Miami Marlins which is icing on the cake after the Rays clinched the AL East on Saturday. All it took was a Rays win and a Red Sox loss to the Yankees and both delivered on Saturday! This was the first time in Rays history that the Rays clinched the division at Tropicana in front of their fans. They are also now tied for the best record in team history.

Impressive today was Shane Baz, who pitched several 1,2,3 innings and remained in the game, dominating and shutting down the Marlins’ offense, until the sixth inning. Shane Baz is an amazing, talented pitcher the Rays acquired from Pittsburgh’s minor league during the original Chris Archer trade deal. At only 21 years old, Baz bypassed college ball and went straight from high school baseball to minor league baseball and has also represented the United States in the Olympics. Based on his performance today, he’s a promising prodigy to watch out for in the future.

In conjunction with the talented pitcher’s performance, Wander Franco extended his on-base streak to 41 in the first inning of the game with Cruz hitting a sacrifice fly to bring him in, resulting in the first run of the day. In the fourth inning, a Marlins defender got in the way of the Rays baserunner, Yandy Diaz, who got walked and then Luplow brought him home with a double. Finally, in the 5th inning, Wander Franco hit a triple. Cruz then hit an RBI single to bring Franco home. This brought about the three runs scored by the Rays in today’s game. After this, Baz was switched out as pitcher briefly by JT Chargois and then by Josh Fleming. Late additions Ji-man Choi, Kevin Kiermeier, and Nick Anderson also got some playing time before the final homestand was over.

The Rays typically dominate the Marlins whether it’s in Tropicana Field or just south in Marlins Park so the win today didn’t come as a big surprise. The Rays continue finishing up regular season away at the Houston Astros and then away in the Bronx at Yankees stadium, but the eye is on the prize as postseason nears. The Rays want a World Series ring and Lord help anyone that stands in their way!