Mejia homers, doubles: Rays rip Cubs 8-2 in shortened game

Apr 20, 2022, 6:54 AM | Updated: Apr 21, 2022, 7:04 am
Second base umpire Todd Tichenor watches as Tampa Bay Rays' Taylor Walls (6) steals second while Ch...

Second base umpire Todd Tichenor watches as Tampa Bay Rays' Taylor Walls (6) steals second while Chicago Cubs' Nick Madrigal is unable to handle the throw from catcher Yan Gomes during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

              Tampa Bay Rays' Taylor Walls throws out Chicago Cubs' Yan Gomes during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Chicago Cubs' Seiya Suzuki watches his fly ball sail foul during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Baseball fans depart and sit through a rain delay during a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              A lone baseball fan sits under a poncho during a rain delay at a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Second base umpire Todd Tichenor watches as Tampa Bay Rays' Taylor Walls (6) steals second while Chicago Cubs' Nick Madrigal is unable to handle the throw from catcher Yan Gomes during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO (AP) — Francisco Mejia homered and drove in three runs to help the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Chicago Cubs 8-2 on Wednesday night in a game that was called after 5 1/2 innings due to rain.

First pitch was moved up 70 minutes because rain was forecast for later on a chilly evening. The game was then delayed in the middle of the sixth inning when the rain intensified. It was called just over an hour later.

The window provided enough time for the Rays (7-6), who struck early and climbed back over .500 with their third win in four games.

“Get runs and then get through the fifth inning, it kind of felt like,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.

Added Mejia through a translator: “Our job was to attack early because we didn’t know if we were going to be able to finish the game at all.”

Josh Lowe had a triple, double and RBI. Randy Arozarena, Wander Franco and Kevin Kiermaier each doubled in runs to help the Rays finish 3-3 in Chicago in back-to-back series against the White Sox and Cubs.

“We’re a really good hitting group” Lowe said. “We’re just kind of feeding off each other’s energy. You go up to the plate and hitting’s contagious, and we’re ready to keep this thing going.”

Despite unseasonably cool weather in Chicago, the Rays’ offense is starting to roll after a slow start and a four-game losing streak last week.

“We think the way we’re built, we should be able to put runs up on the board,” Cash said. “We’ve got a versatile lineup, a very deep lineup. We feel like we can put a lot of pressure on pitchers and today was a good example of that.”

Cubs rookie Seiya Suzuki walked in the fifth to reach base for the 12th straight game at the start of his career, breaking a team record held by two players — Art Williams in 1902 and Tony Taylor in 1958.

Suzuki started the season with a nine-game hitting streak that matched the longest from the from the start of a career by a Japanese-born player, set by Akinori Iwamura with Tampa Bay in 2007. Suzuki was hitless in this one before being replaced in right by Michael Hermosillo in the top of the sixth.

Frank Schwindel drove in a run with a double and Nick Madrigal had Chicago’s other RBI as the Cubs dropped their second straight to Tampa Bay.

Marcus Stroman (0-2) allowed eight runs, seven earned, in his second straight rocky start and loss. The right-hander was tagged for eight hits, including five for extra bases, while striking out seven and walking two.

“Just off right now,” Stroman said “Just a mess a bit mechanically. Can’t find any rhythm. Every pitch essentially feels like I’m doing something different mechanically. I feel great for an inning or a few batters and then kind of just lose it. It’s frustrating. It’s beyond frustrating.”

Rays starter Drew Rasmussen allowed two runs on four hits in three innings. Jalen Beeks (1-0) followed, allowing no hits, walking one and fanning two in two innings.

The Rays jumped ahead 4-0 in the first inning.

Arozarena doubled in the first run, then scored on Yan Gomes’ throwing error after he stole third. Mejia’s two-run shot to the left-center bleachers made it 4-0. Franco’s RBI double in the second made it 5-0.

The Cubs cut it to 5-2 in the third on Schwindel’s double and Madrigal’s groundout.

The Rays pulled away with three runs on the fifth on consecutive extra-base hits by Lowe, Mejia and Kiermaier.

BULLPEN DEAL

After the game, the Cubs announced they acquired LHP Sean Newcomb from Atlanta for RHP Jesse Chavez and a cash consideration.

The 6-foot-5 Newcomb made 32 appearances out of the bullpen for Atlanta last year. This season, the 28-year-old is 0-0 with a 7.20 ERA over five innings in three games.

Chavez was 0-0 with 6.35 ERA in three games with the Cubs this season.

The cash consideration amounted to $350,000.

WANDER-ING

Franco, the Rays 21-year-old shortstop, had 19 hits entering the game to lead the majors. He added a double in four at-bats on Wednesday. The switch-hitting Dominican has four three-hit games so far, including Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

“He’s just really talented, bat-to-ball skill is pretty impressive,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said before the game. “He’s spraying 100 mph line drives all over the ballpark.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: LHP Ryan Yarbrough (left groin) is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for Triple-A Durham on Saturday. Yarbrough (9-7 in 21 starts last season) has been on the 10-day injured list since April 11. … RHP Nick Anderson (right elbow surgery) threw off the mound on Wednesday. He’s been out since September.

UP NEXT:

Rays: Return home to host Boston for a three-game series starting Friday. RHP Corey Kluber (1-0, 1.86) will start in the opener.

Cubs: RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (0-1, 18.90) takes the mound against Pirates RHP Bryse Wilson (0-0, 5.40) when the NL Central rivals open a four-game set.

___

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (19) takes the checkers flag to win the Busch Light Clash...
Associated Press

Truex wins NASCAR’s sloppy return to Los Angeles Coliseum

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. won NASCAR’s return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for its season-opening exhibition race — a sloppy Sunday night extravaganza in which the Wiz Khalifa halftime show might have been the most entertaining part of the event. Truex took the lead with 25 laps to go in the […]
20 hours ago
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) reacts in the second half of an NBA basketball game against ...
Associated Press

Morant says friend banned from arena over Pacers dispute

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant tweeted Sunday that a friend of his has been banned from games at FedExForum for a year as a result of a confrontation between his supporters and members of the Indiana Pacers organization a week earlier. The NBA confirmed that unnamed individuals have been banned from […]
20 hours ago
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (1) goes up for a dunk during the first half of an NBA...
Associated Press

Timberwolves cruise to 128-98 win against Jokic-less Nuggets

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — D’Angelo Russell had 14 of his 18 points in the first quarter and added 10 assists, Anthony Edwards scored 20 and the Minnesota Timberwolves cruised to a 128-98 win Sunday night against the Denver Nuggets, who were missing two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and three other starters on the second night of a […]
20 hours ago
New Orleans Pelicans head coach Willie Green signals in the first half of an NBA basketball game ag...
Associated Press

Murphy scores season-high 30, Pelicans top Kings 136-104

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Trey Murphy III highlighted his season-high 30-point performance with six 3-pointers — a couple from well behind the arc — and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame the absence of several starters to beat the Sacramento Kings 136-104 on Sunday night. “Just got to keep shooting, no matter if you hitting or […]
20 hours ago
Philadelphia 76ers guard Shake Milton (18) drives against New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes (6) ...
Associated Press

Knicks rally from 21 points down, beat 76ers 108-97

NEW YORK (AP) — Julius Randle had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, Jalen Brunson scored 21 points and the New York Knicks overcame an early 21-point deficit to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 108-97 on Sunday night. Evan Fournier came off the bench to add 17 points for the Knicks, who were playing a […]
20 hours ago
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) drives against Memphis Grizzlies forward David Roddy (27...
Associated Press

Siakam, Raptors rally past Grizzlies 106-103 as Morant sits

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Pascal Siakam scored 19 points, including a pair of free throws with 9 seconds left, and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 106-103 on Sunday. Jaren Jackson Jr. missed a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left that would have tied the game for the Grizzlies, […]
20 hours ago
Mejia homers, doubles: Rays rip Cubs 8-2 in shortened game