ST. PETERSBURG -- Before the game started, Rays manager Kevin Cash wasn't sure if he should start Brandon Guyer. Guyer had just played two straight rehab games for Class A Advanced Charlotte and the Rays had a noon ET start on Wednesday.
But Cash stuck him in there, batting fifth and playing right field. And two pitches into his first plate appearance, it was clear Cash made the right choice. Facing former Rays ace David Price, Guyer pounded a home run into the first couple of rows of left-center field for the first run in the Rays' 4-0 win over the Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
"It just shows how smart I am," Cash said, jokingly.
It was Guyer's seventh home run of the season, one shy of the career high he set last season. Before going on the DL, Guyer had been a staple atop the Rays' lineup, but hit a slump where he recorded just one hit in five starts before being sidelined with a left hamstring strain on June 4.
In the at-bat following his homer, he laced a double down the left-field line to plate the fourth and final run of the game. He finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs on the afternoon.
"[Price is] a good pitcher and he made a mistake and I capitalized," Guyer said. "Pitchers like that, they don't make many. Just glad I could put some runs on the board for Matt Moore early and help him out."
Cash said what Guyer was able to do was impressive just in the context of this game. But on the season, he's become a more complete hitter, doing better off of pitchers on both the left and right side than he has in the past.
Confidence comes and goes in baseball, Guyer said. And he tries to take everything in stride. Right now, though, Guyer's confidence is high. And it didn't take long for that to become evident.
"We found out a lot more about him this year," Cash said. "He really adds a huge spark to our lineup."
Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.