ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Backup catcher Francisco Mejía had a three-run double, five Tampa Bay pitchers combined on a seven-hitter, and the Rays beat the Chicago White Sox 9-0 on Sunday in a matchup of AL division leaders.
Austin Meadows had three RBIs for Tampa Bay, which took the final two games of the series after the White Sox won the opener 7-5 in 11 innings. The Rays outscored Chicago 17-4 in the two wins.
“It was very satisfying,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
The Rays loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth against Garrett Crochet. José Ruiz entered and gave up Mejía’s hit that made it 6-0.
Four Tampa Bay relievers followed Chris Archer, who departed with left hip tightness after allowing one hit over two innings. It was Archer’s first start since leaving a game April 10 against the New York Yankees with right forearm tightness.
“With the little bit of rest that I’ve had, the treatment that we’ve done, I feel a lot better,” said Archer, who doesn’t think the injury is a serious one.
Shawn Armstrong (1-0) replaced Archer and struck out four in two hitless innings. Adam Conley and Chris Mazza followed, and Josh Fleming gave up three hits over the final three innings to get his first major league save.
Chicago was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position Sunday and 3-for-27 in the series.
“That was no fun,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said.
Ruiz balked home a run before Meadows picked up his 88th RBI on a double that put the Rays ahead 8-0 in the seventh.
Tampa Bay has scored eight or more runs in 12 of its last 16 games.
Wander Franco had a run-scoring double and Meadows had an RBI single off Reynaldo López (2-1) as the Rays went up 3-0 in the third. López gave up three runs and six hits in four innings.
First baseman Ji-Man Choi left after scoring on Meadows’ first-inning single with left hamstring tightness.
Both teams had a key player out of the lineup.
The Rays announced before the game that slugger Nelson Cruz had been placed on the COVID-19 injured list.
“Woke up not feeling well,” Cash said. “Opted to keep him away. Certainly will test and all that.”
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson sat out his second consecutive game with leg fatigue and soreness. He could start in Monday night’s game at Toronto.
“He’s not hurt, just sore,” La Russa said. “Just wear and tear.”
Mazza, optioned to Triple-A Durham Saturday, was fishing on a boat with his brother-in-law in Fort Myers, about two hours’ drive down the Gulf Coast, when he got the call about 90 minutes before first pitch that he was taking Cruz’s roster spot.
“So we had to hightail it back in,” Mazza said with a laugh.
He arrived at the ballpark at the end of the second inning, entered with two outs in the fifth and then ended the sixth by striking out Andrew Vaughn with runners on second and third.
Mazza said he had just thrown his first fishing line into the water when he got the call.
Franco, 20, tied Rocco Baldelli’s franchise rookie record set in 2003 by reaching base in 24 consecutive games.
It is the longest stretch by a player age 20 or younger since Ken Griffey’s 25-game run with Seattle from June 16-July 15, 1990.
“I’m amazed at really everything he’s done at 20 years old,” Cash said. “Man, he’s a year and a half out of high school. It’s unbelievable what he’s doing.”
Franco made a leaping catcher at shortstop on Brian Goodwin’s liner in the ninth.
White Sox: C Yasmani Grandal (torn left knee tendon) and OF Billy Hamilton (oblique) are on rehab assignments with Triple-A Charlotte.
Rays: RHP Matt Wisler (right middle finger inflammation) could be back next weekend.
White Sox: RHP Lance Lynn (10-3, 2.26 ERA) will go against Toronto RHP Alek Manoah (5-2, 3.34) on Monday night.
Rays: RHP Drew Rasmussen (1-1, 3.64) will start the opener of a two-game interleague series Tuesday night at Philadelphia.
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