State of the turf. (Photo Credit: Anthony Ateek/X-Rays Spex)
State of the turf. (Photo Credit: Anthony Ateek/X-Rays Spex)
The Tampa Bay Rays kicked off their current 10-game homestand with a 5-1 win over the New York Yankees — their second straight win. Jake Odorizzi collected the Rays’ ninth consecutive quality start, keeping the Yankees in check over his 6-2/3 innings, while the offense used the extra-base hit to take control of the game early.

Odorizzi, who posted eight scoreless innings his last start against the Athletics, continued to pitch well Friday night. The righty struck out five and scattered six singles amidst trade speculation, and fears the band may get torn apart. Odorizzi got off to an inauspicious start, giving up back-to-back singles in the first with one out, however, he struck out Brian McCann (looking) and got Mark Teixeira to line to center to end the threat.

The Rays took a quick lead in the bottom of the first against Ivan Nova, who hadn’t given up more than one earned run in each of his last two starts. Logan Forsythe crushed a 2-0 fastball to left center for his 10th homer of the year. Then Corey Dickerson went yard to right with two outs, giving Tampa Bay a two run advantage.

Forsythe’s homer was his first to leadoff a game. It was also the third this season by Tampa Bay and the first since RF Steven Souza Jr. on May 20th against Detroit.

Odorizzi worked around a single and a balk in the top of the third to put another goose egg on the board. Thanks in part to Jake’s no-run inning, Rays were also able to extend their lead in the bottom of the inning — and it all started with Brad Miller’s triple to right-center. Evan Longoria followed with a five pitch walk before Dickerson plated a run on a fielder’s choice to second for a three-run advantage.

Following a scoreless fourth, Tamapa Bay chased Nova in the bottom of the fifth inning. Miller and Longoria hit back-to-back doubles to make it a four-run game. After Dickerson flew out to left, Steve Pearce reached on a hard-hit infield single that Chase Headley, somehow, was able to knock down and prevent from becoming an extra-base hit into the left field corner. Nova’s night was done as Joe Girardi called upon righty Chad Green.

Green, however, wasn’t much better. The righty walked Kevin Kiermaier to load the bases, then gave up a sacrifice-fly toSouza to the wall in left, making it a five run game and capping the scoring. Green again walked the bases loaded (Brandon Guyer) before he collected an inning ending strikeout of Luke Maile (swinging).

Odorizzi departed the game two outs into the seventh inning after allowing two singles sandwiched around a fielder’s choice, that almost became a double play. Odorizzi scattered six base hits that didn’t do any damage. His fastball command was really good, and he was able to control where he wanted to throw his pitches.

Kevin Jepsen entered the game and got the final out the inning, allowing the righty to lower his ERA to 5.71.

New York was able to get on the board in the eighth inning against Dylan Floro on a two-out single to center by Mark Teixeira. Yet with two on and two out, Xavier Cedeno got Didi Gregorius to line out to Kiermaier in center, ending the threat.

Finally in the ninth, facing the bottom of the order, Erasmo Ramirez — who has been connected with Baltimore leading up to the trade deadline — allowed a pair of one-out singles. Because of it, he was lifted in favor of Alex Colome. The closer got Brett Gardner to ground into a 6-4 fielder’s choice, and Jacoby Ellsbury to fly to center to end the game. Colome is now 23-out-of-24 in save opportunities.

The New What Next

Drew Smyly (2-11, 5.42 ERA) will face off against Nathan Eovaldi (5-9, 5.00 ERA) in the second game of the weekend series. Smyly’s 0-7 record in his last 11 games is longest in-season losing streak by a Rays hurler since James Shields lost seven straight in 2010. In spite of that, Smyly tossed six excellent innings of one-run ball Saturday against Oakland, fanning and walking one en route to a no-decision. He enters the game three strikeouts shy of 500 for his career. Eovaldi leads the Yankees in wins, however, he is 1-2 with a 3.86 in three career starts against Tampa Bay. Be that as it may, he allowed one earned run in six innings to earn the win on May 29, when he last faced the Rays at the Trop. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.

Rays 7/30/16 Starting Lineup

Forsythe 2B
Miller DH
Longoria 3B
Dickerson LF
Pearce 1B
Kiermaier CF
Souza Jr RF
Beckham SS
Smyly LHP


Disabled list update. RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) threw two scoreless innings Friday night for the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Per Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), it was the first time in three rehab starts that he completed at least one inning.

OF Desmond Jennings (left hamstring strain) had a double in three at-bats Friday for the Stone Crabs. RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) will pitch three innings tonight for the Montgomery Biscuits.

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