When he made his Major League debut last August, Josh Fleming scaled the mound inside an empty Tropicana Field. His family and a small group of friends watched on TV across the street at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill, unable to enjoy Fleming’s pitching in person until he made a relief appearance in the World Series.
But Fleming had his own personal cheering section in attendance on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium, and he made sure his performance was worth the wait. The left-hander breezed through 5 1/3 scoreless innings, and Tampa Bay’s bullpen held on to extend the Rays’ winning streak to four games in a 4-1 victory over the Royals.
Born across the state in Bridgeton, Mo., and now residing near St. Louis in Columbia, Ill., Fleming had about 40 family members and friends in the seats Monday night in Kansas City. They witnessed a quintessentially Josh Fleming performance: He worked quickly, threw strikes, put the ball on the ground, let his defense go to work and gave the Rays a chance to win.