For the first time in 2018, the Tampa Bay Rays are five games over .500. Tampa Bay beat Kansas City on Wednesday night, 6-3, and remain unbeaten in six games against the Royals.
Ryne Stanek opened with two perfect frames on 22 pitches, striking out a pair and bouncing back from a weekend appearance in which he allowed two runs (between Monday’s scoreless outing and Wednesday).
In the home half of the second, the bottom of the order put Tampa Bay on the board by two. The two-out rally started when Michael Perez singled to center ahead of Carlos Gomez, who doubled him into third. Brandon Lowe, who had been off to a sluggish start until recently, grounded a single to center, driving in both Perez and Gomez.
After Yonny Chirinos, who followed Stanek, threw a scoreless third, Whit Merrifield homered off the left field foul pole to begin the fourth, making it a 2-1 ballgame. It was one of two hits allowed by Chirinos over his first five innings of work.
Up by one, Tampa Bay added to the lead in the sixth. Willy Adames singled to center with one out then moved into third when Perez lashed a ball that glanced off Merrifield’s glove which was scored an error. with runners on the corners, Gomez laid down a safety squeeze, scoring Adames for a two-run advantage.
With a runner still at second, southpaw hurler Tim Hill entered in relief of Junis, although he wasn’t too effective; Hill relinquished back-to-back two-strike hits to the left-handed hitting Lowe and Mallex Smith. The second one scored Perez, putting Tampa Bay up by three.
Chirinos took the mound in the eighth inning and gave up a single to Ryan O’Hearn before Hunter Dozier hit a two-run homer to center, again making it a one-run contest. Kevin Cash then went to his bullpen.
For Chirinos, the right-hander flat-out dealt for five-plus innings, yet he also allowed a costly two-run homer. At the end of the day, he was credited with his second win of the season, although his three earned runs inflated his ERA from 3.96 to 4.02.
Adam Kolarek took over for Chirinos and got the first out on a comebacker. The right-handed Chaz Roe was summoned from the ‘pen to face Alcides Escobar and Merrifield, though he allowed a double to former. Thankfully he stuck out the latter for the second out. With the left-handed hitting Alex Gordon stepping into the batter’s box, Kevin Cash called on flame-throwing southpaw Jose Alvarado, who fanned the outfielder to end the frame.
Alvarado looked particularly nasty, with his upper 90’s fastball boasting a lot of lateral movement.
In the bottom of the eighth, Tampa Bay was able to tack on a pair of two-out insurance runs against former Ray Jason Hammel. Gomez started the rally with a one-out single, then stole his way into scoring position. And though Lowe struck out, Smith drove in his second RBI of the game on a base hit, then moved up to second on the throw to the plate. Matt Duffy followed with an RBI hit, capping the Rays scoring at six.
Finally, Sergio Romo took the mound in the ninth inning and quickly got two outs before he allowed a single to Rosell Herrera, who moved into second on defensive indifference a pitch later. Ryan O’Hearn was next, grounding a ball into the hole at short where Duffy was positioned due to the shift. Duffy made an impressive play, diving to his glove side to field the ball and attempting to gun down O’Hearn at first, yet the Royals DH beat the ball to the bag. Nevertheless, Cron made a heads up play, firing the ball home when he saw that Herrera was trying to come around to score. This time that runner did not beat the ball to the plate, resulting in a 6-3-2 third out, the Rays 66th win of the season, and Romo’s career save 102.
All told, the Rays collected 14 hits for a second straight night. Six players had multi-hit games, and the bottom third of the order scored four of the six runs and drove in three.
The New What Next
Tampa Bay wraps up the four-game series with the Royals on Thursday with Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 3.38 ERA) getting the start. He’ll be opposed by Danny Duffy (7-11, 4.90 ERA).
Tyler Glasnow put the Rays in an early four-run hole on Saturday, struggling through a 28-pitch first inning.
Yet after allowing four runs on back-to-back doubles, three consecutive walks, two steals and a Jake Bauers throwing error, Glasnow settled in and worked impressively into the seventh. The right-hander retired his final 12 batters, and 17 of his last 18 overall, following J.D. Martinez’s majors-most 38th homer in the third inning.
In his fourth outing since coming to Tampa Bay, Glasnow worked a career-high 6-2/3 innings, allowing three hits and three walks, striking out four on 94 pitches (50 strikes, 53% strike rate, 15/25 first-pitch strikes).
Glasnow didn’t have his best stuff, with only his fastball as the most reliable offering.
I just kind of realized this is what I had today and just go out and compete as hard as I can and get out of that fix-it mode. I went out after the first and did what I had to do, Glasnow said. In Pittsburgh things like that would happen and I wasn’t able to go out and complete the day so I’m definitely happy with going back out after the first and getting through 6-2/3.
Danny Duffy coughed up up six runs on eight hits and a walk across 5-1/3 innings while striking out two against the Cardinals prior to being placed on the DL. The southpaw has now been tagged for six or more runs three times in his last four starts, sending his ERA soaring back up to 4.90. In spite of that, Duffy is 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA in four career starts against the Rays. Key Matchup: Carlos Gomez (3-7, 2B)
Rays 8/23/18 Starting Lineup
You can read about the series in our preview.