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Arozarena amazes as Rays clinch division

No. 19 prospect homers twice; Tampa Bay locks up AL East
Randy Arozarena's first multi-homer game occured on Sept. 6 against Miami. (Frank Franklin II/AP)
September 24, 2020

On the verge of clinching their first division title since 2010, the Tampa Bay Rays were looking for a celebration. Randy Arozarena was the perfect party planner.

On the verge of clinching their first division title since 2010, the Tampa Bay Rays were looking for a celebration.

Randy Arozarena was the perfect party planner.

The Rays' No. 19 prospect mashed two homers, including a go-ahead two-run shot, as Tampa Bay rolled to an 8-5 victory over the Mets on Wednesday at Citi Field. With the win, the Rays clinched the American League East crown for the third time in franchise history and first in a decade.

Arozarena snapped a 2-2 deadlock in the sixth inning. Facing Mets starter Michael Wacha with one on and one out, the 25-year-old sent a first-pitch fastball deep to right-center field for a two-run shot. The blast traveled 419 feet and had an exit velocity of 106.2 mph, according to Statcast.

"Randy's two-run homer was huge," manager Kevin Cash told reporters. "It seemed like (the offense) carried over after that. We got a bunch of guys on base and the at-bats started coming back to life."

Tampa Bay never looked back, adding four runs off the New York bullpen. Fittingly, Arozarena capped the scoring with another roundtripper.

Left-hander Steven Matz recorded two quick outs in the ninth, but the Cuba native battled to a full count before crushing the payoff pitch to left. It hooked around the foul pole and withstood a video review to complete Arozarena's second career multi-homer game.

The 431-foot solo dinger surpassed his first homer with a 109.6 mph exit velocity and capped a night in which Arozarena collected three hits, three RBIs and three runs scored.

Acquired from the Cardinals in a January trade, the 2019 Organization All-Star was recalled from Tampa Bay's alternate training site on Aug. 30. Since then, the outfielder is batting .278 with a 1.050 OPS.

Arozarena made is big league debut with St. Louis in 2019 and posted a .300/.391/.500 slash line with a homer and a double in 19 games.

For the Mets, third-ranked prospect Andres Gimenez connected on his third homer of the year, a solo shot off Rays starter Tyler Glasnow in the second inning. He went 1-for-4.

In other action:

D-backs 7, Rangers 3

No. 3 Arizona prospect Daulton Varsho cranked his second triple of the season to center field, driving in Carson Kelly in the sixth inning. The 24-year-old catcher crossed the plate on a homer by Wyatt Mathisen. Second-ranked Texas prospect Sam Huff collected two doubles and scored once to raise his batting average to .292. No. 3 Leody Taveras went 2-for-4 with a run scored, his sixth multi-hit game in 30 big league appearances, while No. 7 Anderson Tejeda singled in a run and No. 10 Sherten Apostel went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. No. 22 Demarcus Evans struck out two and hit a batter in a scoreless eighth in his third big league relief outing. Box score

Indians 3, White Sox 2

Triston McKenzie, Cleveland’s No. 10 prospect, gave up a hit and struck out three in two frames of relief. It was the 23-year-old righty’s first scoreless outing since Sept. 2. No. 17 James Karinchak blew his third save opportunity after allowing a run on a hit and a wild pitch while fanning two in the eighth. Third-ranked Chicago prospect Nick Madrigal went 1-for-4 and is hitting .344 in The Show. Garrett Crochet, the 11th overall pick in this year’s Draft, struck out two en route to his fourth scoreless inning in as many big league games. No. 25 Codi Heuer walked one and struck out one in one frame. Box score

Giants 7, Rockies 2

Joey Bart laced a triple to right – the overall No. 12 prospect’s second three-bagger of the season and only hit in four at-bats -- and crossed the plate on a single by Steven Duggar in the eighth inning. San Francisco’s top prospect is batting .244. Ryan Castellani, Colorado’s No. 14 prospect, suffered his fourth loss after giving up four runs on five hits and five walks with one strikeout in 4 2/3 frames. No. 18 Tommy Doyle allowed two runs on four hits – including Bart’s triple -- in one frame in his Major League debut. Box score

A’s 6, Dodgers 4

Third-ranked Los Angeles prospect Brusdar Graterol twirled a perfect second inning. The No. 82 overall prospect’s ERA dropped to 2.95 in 21 appearances this season. No. 9 Oakland prospect Jonah Heim went 0-for-4 to drop his average to .235 in 11 big league contests. Box score

Twins 7, Tigers 6

No. 6 Twins prospect Ryan Jeffers went 2-for-3 to boost his average to .288 over 25 games in the Majors. It was the 23-year-old catcher’s third multi-hit outing. No. 26 Jorge Alcala allowed a single and a walk in a scoreless eighth inning to lower his ERA to 2.78 in 14 appearances this year. Sixth-ranked Detroit prospect Isaac Paredes collected three singles and scored a run to boost his average to .230, while No. 7 Daz Cameron was 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. Box score

Angels 5, Padres 2

Sixth-ranked San Diego prospect Adrian Morejon was tagged for four runs on three homers and two walks while striking out one in one frame. The 21-year-old fell to 2-2 while his ERA rose to 4.86. Box score

Phillies 12, Nationals 3

Philadelphia's No. 12 prospect Mickey Moniak batted for Andrew McCutchen in the ninth and singled for his third Major League hit. The top overall pick in the 2016 Draft made his bigleague debut on Sept. 16 and has seen action in eight games. Top prospect Luis Garcia drove in the Nationals' first run with a fifth-inning groundout. Box score

Pirates 2, Cubs 1

No. 38 overall prospect Ke'Bryan Hayes continued his stellar rookie campaign by homering on a 2-for-4 night for Pittsburgh. It was the fourth long ball in 20 games for the second-ranked Bucs prospect, who's batting .333/.403/.623. Tenth-ranked prospect Jared Oliva was hitless in three at-bats. Box score

Mariners 3, Astros 2

Braden Bishop, Seattle’s No. 19 prospect, entered in left field as a defensive replacement in the eighth and flied out in the bottom of the inning in his first at-bat since Aug. 29. Astros No. 27 prospect Blake Taylor gave up a hit and a walk while fanning one in a scoreless frame. Box score

Braves 9, Marlins 4

Top Marlins prospect Sixto Sanchez was tagged for four runs on four hits over three innings in the shortest start of his big league career. The right-hander issued four walks but did not factor in the decision as his ERA climbed to 3.46 through seven appearances. Marlins No. 11 prospect Nick Neidert notched two innings of scoreless relief, working around a hit and a walk while registering one strikeout. Box score

Royals 12, Cardinals 3

Cardinals No. 13 prospect Jake Woodford pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two, while top prospect Dylan Carlson went hitless but worked a walk in the ninth. No. 27 prospect Seth Elledge surrendered a three-run homer to Kansas City's Franchy Cordero but struck out two in his lone inning of relief. For the Royals, No. 21 prospect Edward Olivares entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth and did not bat. Box score

Red Sox 9, Orioles 1

Ryan Mountcastle continued his torrid rookie season, collecting three singles for the fourth multi-hit game in his last 10 contests. Baltimore's fifth-ranked process debuted on Aug. 21 and is hitting .330 with an .899 OPS. No. 10 prospect Dean Kremer faltered in his fourth career Major League start. The 24-year-old was tagged for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings after yielding one earned run in each of his first three outings. No. 3 Red Sox prospect Bobby Dalbec was hitless in four at-bats but scored a run in the third inning. Box score