Cormier carrying heavy workload
Entering Sunday, righty led Majors in relief innings pitched
BOSTON -- Lance Cormier entered Sunday night's game against the Red Sox leading the Major Leagues with the most relief innings at 25 1/3 frames pitched.
None of those innings were more important than the 3 2/3 frames he pitched in Saturday's 14-5 win over the Red Sox. During that stint, the right-hander faced 12 hitters and retired 11, earning his second Major League save and just his third professional save. Rays manager Joe Maddon called it Cormier's best outing of the year.
"I just went in there, tried to throw strikes and not get behind," Cormier said. "I just threw a lot of fastballs and stayed ahead in the count.
"At-bats in those kinds of games are different than at-bats in a one-, two-, three-run ballgame. So I think in that kind of situation, you want quick at-bats. Keeping my pitch count low allowed me to stay out there and finish the game."
Finishing the game was important since it essentially saved the Rays bullpen for Sunday night.
"It was big to save the bullpen, obviously," Cormier said. "That they didn't have to go out there -- that was my goal. Once I got two or three innings deep, I wanted to finish it. Once I went out there for that last inning, that was the goal. You don't want to have to use anybody for two outs in that last inning when they've almost mentally checked out. That was the biggest part about that."
Cormier has not allowed any runs in six of his past seven outings.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.