It has been said a win is a win is a win. And while the Tampa Bay Rays 10-5 victory over the White Sox wasn’t pretty, that they were able to put another tally in the win column is all that matters. The Rays, now 9-3 on the season, have won four consecutive series and have built a six-game cushion in the W/L columns.
For the fifth consecutive game, Tampa Bay took the lead in the opening inning. This time around Austin Meadows singled to right off Ervin Santana, swiped second, moved up to third on Tommy Pham’s fly-ball out to right-center, then scored on Brandon Lowe’s sacrifice fly to center field.
The team tacked on three more runs in the second inning, starting with Avisail Garcia’s solo homer to center off Santana.
It was Garcia’s third career home run off Santana and his first as a Ray.
Then with two outs, Willy Adames worked a free pass before Meadows homered to right-center, capping the rally.
It was Meadows’ third homer this year.
The Rays scored again the next inning, when Brandon Lowe belted a homer to left center, for a 5-0 advantage.
The Rays weren’t done at the plate. They added a pair of runs in the fourth, chasing Santana when Michael Perez and Adames went back-to-back with one-out doubles. Finally, with two on, Meadows hit an RBI single to right-center — the seventh, and final, run charged to Santana.
On the other side of the plate, Morton gave up a two-run shot to Yoan Moncada in the bottom of the third inning, although he otherwise kept the White Sox off balance by leaning on his fastball (both two and four-seam, 46 thrown, 29 strikes, 63% strike rate), curveball (30 thrown, 15 strikes, 50% strike rate), and his cutter (14 thrown, 11 strikes, 79% strike rate).
The two runs were all that Morton allowed across five innings of work. The right-hander scattered three hits and three walks while striking out seven.
Kevin Cash handed the ball over to Wilmer Font, who was charged with two runs (after he left the game) across 2-2/3 innings of work. The right-hander threw 57 pitches (36 strikes, 63% strike rate) and averaged 94 mph with his four-seam fastball, which hit 97 mph. Up until his final inning of work, Font showed signs of improvement, much like when he came over from Oakland last season.
(Font) did a good job. He really picked us up. It’s good to see him get out there and get his pitch count, I think he got close to mid-50s, maybe a tick higher than what we would like, but the velo was good. We needed to get to the end of the game and he got us pretty close.— Wilmer Font
While Tampa Bay scored a run on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth, things got messy in the bottom of the frame.
After Font was pulled from the game with two outs and a pair of runners on base, Ryne Stanek, the third hurler of the day couldn’t retire a batter. The right-hander allowed an RBI single to right to Tim Anderson, then walked Welington Castillo, loading the bases. Eloy Jimenez followed with a slow roller past Stanek for an infield hit to draw Chicago within four. It made for an odd play, as Lowe and Adames collided as they attempted to field the ball.
Cash then called upon Jose Alvarado, who became the third pitcher of the inning. The typically dependable Alvarado walked pinch-hitter Jose Rondon on a full-count pitch to force home a run. Pinch-hitter Adam Engel, representing the go-ahead run at the plate, worked the count full then swung at what would have been ball four, ending the inning.
Feeling the air escaping from the stadium, Tampa Bay bounced back to score two more insurance runs in the ninth when Kevin Kiermaier singled home Lowe, then Meadows walked with the bases loaded to force home the tenth and final run.
Adam Kolarek took over in the ninth inning and put together a quiet frame. All told, Rays batter collected a total of 13 hits and eight walks, while every starting position player reached base at least once.
A win is a win is a win indeed.
The New What Next
The Rays and White Sox are slated to play the final game of the series on Wednesday, weather permitting. Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 0.82 ERA) will start opposite fellow righty Reynaldo Lopez (0-1, 10.00 ERA).
Tyler Glasnow went to work in the bottom of the first, against San Francisco, with a plate appearance by the former face of the franchise, Evan Longoria, looming. The right-hander quickly disposed of the first two batters on five pitches, bringing Longoria to the plate.
Glasnow promptly got ahead in the count before he spotted up a well-placed curveball on the inner third of the plate, locking up Longoria.
The first at-bat against the former face of the franchise culminated in a punch out, as the 1-2-3 first set the tone for the afternoon against the tall right-hander.
All told, Glasnow scattered three singles and allowed a walk, while striking out six. He threw first-pitch strikes to 17 of 23 batters (74% first-pitch strike rate), and 59 of 82 pitches overall for strikes (72% strike rate).
Reynaldo Lopez is looking to shake off his latest start against Seattle where he allowed six earned runs and walked four across five innings of work. Lopez has yet to reach the sixth inning in 2019 after going just four innings in his first start on March 30. Lopez relies primarily on his 94 mph four-seam fastball, while also mixing in an 81 mph slider with some two-plane movement and an 84 mph changeup with a lot of backspin. Lopex is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in one career start against the Rays. Key Matchups: Yandy Diaz (1-2, BB), Kevin Kiermaier (2-3)
You can read about the series in our preview.
Rays 4/10/19 Starting Lineup
- Meadows RF
- Pham LF
- Choi 1B
- Lowe 2B
- Garcia DH
- Kiermaier CF
- Robertson 3B
- Zunino C
- Adames SS
- Glasnow RHP