Colome bounces back to lock down 45th save

Colome bounces back to lock down 45th save

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays saddled up "The Horse" to finish off Sunday's 3-2 win over the Red Sox. And despite Friday night's blown save, Rays closer Alex Colome got the job done, earning his 45th save of the season in the process.

Colome blew the save Friday night when he took over to pitch the ninth with a three-run lead. Sunday, he got the first out then surrendered a single to Andrew Benintendi before getting Rajai Davis to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.

"Even with the hit, he was totally fine out there," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "His focus was to get the guy to hit a ground ball, and good thing we've got [Adeiny Hechavarria] to get it to Brad [Miller], really good turn on his part, because Rajai Davis doesn't get doubled up very often.

"It was good to see Alex come in there and pound the strike zone and basically do what he does all year. Even with what took place on Friday night, I was confident that he would bounce back whenever that opportunity came up again."

Colome leads the Major Leagues with 45 saves and is tied for second in franchise history with Rafael Soriano (2010). Fernando Rodney's 48 ('12) remains the team's single-season record.

Colome has a chance to become the first Rays closer to lead the Major Leagues in saves: Brad Boxberger (2015) and Soriano ('10) both led the AL.

Colome noted that he doesn't have a specific goal for the season.

"No goals," he said. "I just want to go out there and compete every day. Whatever God brings to the table is what I'm going to do."

Colome's cutter stands as one of the most dominating pitches in the Major Leagues.

"It's great," said Jesus Sucre, who caught Colome on Sunday. "Every time he goes out there and pounds the zone, the hitters don't have much of a chance because his cutter's nasty. He's one of the best. That's why he's got all those saves."

Colome said the problems he experienced Friday night had nothing to do with his cutter.

"To me, my cutter felt fine," Colome said. "It felt good. The only problem was that I was falling behind on the hitters and therefore, they were doing their jobs and competing."

One thing's for sure: Those inside the Rays' clubhouse trust Colome.

"Close to 50 saves for a guy who had close to 40 last year -- he's about as lockdown as it gets when it comes to a big situation," said Jake Odorizzi, who picked up the win for the Rays on Sunday. "Even when he gets guys on in the ninth inning, it seems like he gets the double-play ball or gets early-count outs.

"That cutter-slider he throws is a pretty good pitch that really doesn't get talked about too much for how good it is. When we turn the ball over to him, there's a lot of confidence that we're going to nail it down."

And to come back like he did after Friday night's blown save ...

"To bounce back like he did with a quick inning ..." Odorizzi said. "He's got the mentality, that he forgets things pretty quickly if it's a bad outing. He's very even-keeled out there. He doesn't play into the situation."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.