After a more than two-and-a-half-hour rain delay, the Tampa Bay Rays hit three homers while Charlie Morton went six solid innings in a 6-2 win over Cleveland, on Saturday. Tampa Bay has won three of its last four contests and looks to take the series in The ‘Land this afternoon.
Morton struck out 10 for the first time this season and gave up just one run on three hits, two walks and hit a batter on 106 pitches (73 strikes, 69% strike rate) — his 18th straight start without a loss. He is 8-0 with a 3.10 ERA during that stretch. More importantly, though, he held Cleveland to 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position (.167 wRISP), and opponents are now 6-for-56 (.107) in wRISP situations this year.
The only blemish on Morton’s line came in the bottom of the second after the Rays had taken a 1-0 lead. Jake Bauers walked to start the frame, then went from first to third on Jose Ramirez’s base hit to right-center. After Jordan Luplow hit a comebacker, Leonys Martin rolled a single against the shift into left tying the ball game.
The Rays took the initial lead in the top of the second inning against Carlos Carrasco when Avisail Garcia singled to left and Brandon Lowe doubled to center, scoring the Rays outfielder from first. Yet they were unable to score more in that frame.
Tampa Bay also squandered a bases-loaded, one out opportunity in the fourth inning, but was able to take the lead for good in the very next frame. With two outs Tommy Pham hit a bullet into left field before Ji-Man Choi hit an opposite-field homer on a 2-1 pitch.
It was Choi’s first homer since May 10th, and his fourth overall.
Brandon Lowe then added to the lead in the sixth inning, on a solo shot to center field, making it 4-1.
Finally, in the seventh inning, Daniel Robertson reached on a leadoff error by Francisco Lindor before Pham hit a two-run line drive homer to center (his eighth) two batters later, capping the Rays’ scoring.
Casey Sadler followed Morton and worked two innings, allowing a two-out solo homer in the eighth to Carlos Santana. The right-hander was optioned to Durham after the game. Oliver Drake, who has to be added to the 40-man roster (another move is to come), was selected by Tampa Bay to add a fresh arm to the ‘pen.
Diego Castillo finished things off with a scoreless ninth, allowing just a two-out single.
The New What Next
The Rays will wrap up the four-game set on Sunday. Tampa Bay will go with opener Ryne Stanek (0-1, 3.38 ERA), who will be followed by southpaw Jalen Beeks (3-0, 3.19 ERA). Trevor Bauer (4-3, 3.95 ERA) will start for Cleveland.
Ryne Stanek will open for the fourteenth time this season. He has allowed a run in just two of the previous 13 starts and has given up four runs across 20-1/3 innings (1.77 ERA). A caveat: those runs were allowed in road appearances.
Jalen Beeks put together an uncharacteristically bad outing on Tuesday, although he was BABIP’d to a large extent. In the fifth inning, after retiring seven batters in a row, Beeks allowed a one-out walk to Max Muncy, a stolen base, and a fly out to right — putting a runner at third with two outs. After Cody Bellinger walked, and Kike Hernandez rolled an RBI single to right, Corey Seager singled to right-center, making it 5-0 and chasing the left-hander. Even so, Beeks has a 3.13 ERA, 2.64 FIP, and a 9.08 K/9 on the season.
Trevor Bauer allowed four runs on four hits across six innings on Tuesday. He struck out five and walked four. Bauer struggled with his command for the second consecutive outing as he needed a season-high 123 pitches (73 strikes, 59% strike rate) to work through six frames. The right-hander has given up 11 earned runs — including three homers — and has a 1/1 K/BB in his last two outings. Bauer relies primarily on a whiffy 95 mph four-seam fastball, while also mixing in an 80 mph curveball with exceptional bite, a firm 87 mph changeup with arm-side fade, a whiffy 85 mph cutter with sink, and an 81 mph sweeping slider. Key Matchups: Ji-Man Choi (1-2, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Avisail Garcia (9-28, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup is below.
Rays 5/26/19 Starting Lineup
- Meadows DH
- Pham LF
- Choi 1B
- Garcia RF
- B. Lowe 2B
- Adames SS
- Kiermaier CF
- Kratz C
- Robertson 3B
- Stanek RHP