ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Randy Arozarena is excited to be facing his original team for the first time, especially the way he and the Tampa Bay Rays are beginning to swing the bats.
The 2021 AL Rookie of the Year had three hits and tied a career best with four RBIs, helping the Rays post season highs for runs and hits in an 11-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
“We did a tremendous job. Everyone produced,” Arozarena said through a translator. “It’s good to watch.”
“Hopefully we can keep playing like we played today,” the 27-year-old outfielder said. “But it’s a tough game. You can’t always have good games like we had today.”
Arozarena was a St. Louis prospect with 19 games of major league experience when he was obtained from the Cardinals in a January 2020 trade.
The native of Cuba had an RBI double in the first inning and a two-run single in the seventh to pace an 18-hit outburst. After a slow start to the season, Arozarena is batting .353 with three doubles, four homers and 16 RBIs in his last 17 games.
“I think I’ve been a little more focused these last few games,” he added. “I’ve spent a little more time with the hitting coaches and working.”
Veteran catcher Yadier Molina pitched a scoreless eighth for St. Louis, entering to cheers from red-clad Cardinals fans in a crowd of 12,906. He received a standing ovation when he struck out pinch-hitter Isaac Paredes.
Molina, who removed his cap and waved to fans on his way back to the dugout, gave up a pair of singles and threw strikes on 13 of 20 pitches. He kept the ball he used to get his first career strikeout.
“That one goes in my house,” he said after facing five batters in his second outing.
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