Devils’ Rafael Devers puts on a show; hits two-game winning HRs in memorable Memorial Day performance

Taz Devils 3b Rafael Devers celebrated Memorial Day’s home-and-away series against the Beefers in grand fashion Monday, May 29, belting three-run HR in the ninth to lift the Devils to a 6-5 win in Game One and repeating his heroics in Game Two with a ninth-inning walkoff HR for a 4-3 Devils triumph. Both game winning homers came off Beefers closer Ryan Helsley. 

In his past six games against the Beefers, Devers has piled up seven HRs in six straight games while hitting .480 (12-25) with 15 RBIs, along with 12 runs, two doubles and two walks.

The two wins moved the Tazzies (13-9) into a tie with the Tsunamis (13-9), both teams one game behind the league-leading Whatevers 13-7. The Beefers fell to 12-24 for the first half.  

Game 1   Devils 6, Beefers 5     at Beefers

The Beefers buiit up a 5-0 lead in the first three innings, only to see the Devils climb back into the game with a two-run HR by Rafael Devils in the fifth and then go on to win the game in the top of the ninth with a three-run HR off Beef closer Ryan Helsley. 

The Beefs wasted no time getting to Taz starter Tyler Anderson with Dansby Swanson hitting a two-run HR in the first and added two more in the third on a solo HR by Matt Olson and an RBI double by Jon Berti, putting them ahead 5-0. 

After that, it was all Rafael Devils, with his 2R HR off Beefer righty Max Scherzer and his game winner in the ninth off Helsley. Aaron Judge added a run for the Devils in the sixth with a solo HR.

Devils   6-7-3      WP Brad Hand.  HR Rafael Devers 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, Aaron Judge.

Beefers 5-12-1     LP- Ryan Helsley 1-2. HR Matt Olson #6, Dansby Swanson #7. 

Game 2   Devils 4, Beefers 3     at Devils

In an eerier repetition of Game One, Rafael Devers hitting a one-out HR off Ryan Helsley in the bottom of the ninth for a Devils come-from-behind 4-3 win. 

In a hint that it might not be the Beefers day, Devils LF Randy Arozarena hit a leadoff HR off Joe Musgrove to put the Devils out in front 1-0. The Beefs took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on a 2R HR by Matt Olson, his second home run in two games, but the Devils tied at 2-2 in tehfifth on an RBI double by Arozarena and then went ahead 3-2 in the eighth on a solo shot by Judge, his second in two games.

With Edwin Diaz on for the Devils in the ninth, the Beefs tied the game 3-3 on a double by Marcus Semien and an RBI single by Alex Verdugo 

With Ryan Helsley on to nail down the win, Devers stepped to the plate with one out and ended the game with a solo HR…his second straight game ninth inning game-winning HR in two games.

Beefers 3-6-2  LP- Ryan Helsley 1-3. HR Matt Olson #7.

Devils      4-8-0  W- Edwin Diaz.  HR Rafael Devers (walk off HR), Arozarena (leadoff HR).


Whats increase lead in first half; take three of four in Memorial Day fireworks show

Walt Taylor’s league-leading Whatevers put on a fireworks show for the Memorial Day weekend, blasting 12 HRs in four games as they took three of four from the faltering last-place Beefers (12-22). The series win improved the Whats record to 13-7. They have won six of their last seven games.

The Whats outhit the Beefs 206-.183 in the series, but the big difference was in the power stats. The Whatever batters put 12 HRs into the stands while the Beefs totaled six HR. 

The Whats slammed six HRs in Game 2 and added five more HRs in Game 4. The only game they missed hitting a HR was in Game 3, when Beefer Max Scherzer combined with two relievers for a 2-0 shutout win over the homer-weary Whatever sluggers.

Game 1   Whatevers 5, Beefers 4

Whatevers RF Hunter Renfroe touched Beefer reliever Evan Philips for an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Whats a tough 5-4 series-opening win for the Whatevers.

The Whatevers put two on the board in the first on an RBI double by Yordan Alvarerz and a solo HR by Austin Slater. Alvarerz doubled two more runs in the fifth to make it 3-1, but a two-run HR by Marcus Semien in the sixth pulled the Beefs to a 4-3 deficit and the Bovines tied it in the seventh on a solo HR by Jose Ramirez, who ended a horrendous slump during which he failed to get a hit for six straight games.

In the ninth, What SS Tommy Edman singled with one out and immediately put himself in scoring position with steals of second and third, scoring on Renfoe’s timely single to win the game.

Beef     4-8-0       L- Evan Phillips 2-1. HR Semien #7, Dansby Swanson #6, Jose  Ramirez #3.

What   5-7-0       W- Emannuel Clase. HR Austin Slater. 

Game 2   Whatevers 10, Beefers 1

The Whatevers erupted for six HRs in Game Two enroute to a 10-1 thrashing of the Beefers.

The Beefs Dansby Swanson homered in the first to put the Beefs ahead 1-0, but that was all they wrote for the Beefer offense. 


In the bottom of the second Tommy Edman and Hunter Renfroe went back-to-back off Beef starter Julio Urias. In the fourth, What 1b Christian Walker hit a solo shot off Urias.  Things totally imploded for the Urias in the sixth when Yordan Alvarez and Walker both homered to make it 7-1. After a double by Edman, Trevor Williams came for the Beefs and promptly  walked Gino Urshala and then gave up a 3R HR to Branden Donovan to make it 10-1.

Overlooked in the lopsided win was a fine showing by Shohei Ohtani, who no-hit the Beefs in their first encounter of the season.  Ohtani went six innings, allowing only one run.

Beef     1-8-2       L- Julio Urias 0-2. HR Dansby Swanson #7.

What   10-10-0   W- Shohei Ohtani. HR Christian Walker 2 HRs, Tommy Edman, Hunter Renfroe, Yordan Alvarez, Brendan Donovan.

Game 2    Beefers 5, Whatevers 0

The Beefs Max Scherzer took advantage of the homer-worn Whatever offense to carry a no-hitter into the eighth inning, when Shohe Ohtani hit a leadoff double  for the only hit for the Whatevers. Scherzer struck out 12 and walked only one in nothing his second win of the year. Ryan Helsley closed the game with a scoreless inning in the ninth for his fourth save.  

The Beefs scored in the first on an RBI single by Bryan Reynolds. Their other score came on a sac fly by Willson Contrerars in the sixth.

Beefs   2-5-0       W- Max Scherzer 2-2. Sv Ryan Helsley #4.

What    0-1-0      L- Kyle Wright.

Game 4   Whatevers 10, Beefers 3

The series finale was like a re-run of Game Two. The Whats swatted five home runs and ran away with a 10-3 win.

Brendan Donovan gave a preview of things to come for the Whats when he hit a leadoff HR off Beef starter Dylan Cease in the first. In the second Vlad Guerrero hit a two-run HR and two batters later Hunter Renfroe hit his second HR of the series to make it 4-0

The Beefs fought back with a homer by Bo Bichette, an RBI single by Bryan Reynolds to make it 4-2, in favor of the Whats, in the third, In the fourth, a solo HR by Alex Verdugo closed the gap to 4-3.

Things fell apart fo the Beefs in the sixth, when Cease walked three of the first four batters he faced. With Rafeal Iglesias in from the bullpen, Guerrero hit his second HR of the game…a grand slam that put the Whats ahead 8-3. 

Yordan Alvarez added a two-run HR in the eighth to complete the rout and a 10-3 win.

Beef     3-6-1       L- Dylan Cease 1-4. HR Bo Bichette #4., Alex Verdugo #2.

What   10-8-1     W- Brandon Woodruff. HR Brendan Donovan (leadoff HR), Hunter Renfroe, Yordan Alvarez, Vlad Guerrero 2 HRs (inc, grand slam and 6 RBIs).

2023 OAPBA First Half standings (May 29)

2023 first halfWLPctGB
Tsunamis 139.5911
Taz Devils139.5911

Walt Taylor’s Whatevers (13-7) still have the lead in the first half, but there are footsteps behind the Whats in the form of Craig Dolans’s Tsunamis and Frank Fumai’s Taz Devils, both 13-9, one game behind. At this point in the first half, it looks like a tight three-team race.

Jonathan Stilwell’s Otters are 9-11 and four games out, but no one is yet counting the Furries out, based on their remarkable second half run in 2022. Rod Caborn’s Beefers are 12-24 with only their home-and away series left against the Whats and Otters to complete a first half that has fallen well short of expectations.