A day after they won a satisfying 15 inning contest in Minnesota, the Tampa Bay Rays rallied multiple times on Monday, scoring five two-out runs in the seventh to beat the Rangers 10–8. The Rays are now 3–1 on their current road trip, and two games over .500 for the first time since they were 5–3 at the start of the season.
Tampa Bay scored first, their American League leading 43rd first inning run, to take a one-run lead against Martin Perez. Steven Souza Jr. singled to center, Corey Dickerson doubled to left-center, and Evan Longoria plated the run on a fielder’s choice to short. Eager to snap a run or poor play, the Rangers struck just as quickly in the bottom of the frame.
Giving the ball to Erasmo Ramirez a day after he notched a save might not have been the best idea. Staked with a one-run lead, Ramirez walked Shin-Soo Choo before Elvis Andrus singled to right-center, putting runners at the corners. Nomar Mazara came up big for his squad when he lined a double into the right-field corner, scoring both runners and putting Texas up by one. Fresh off the DL, Adrian Beltre singled to right — his 2943rd career hit — before Rougned Odor hit a sacrifice fly to deep right-center, scoring Mazara to make it 3–1.
Ramirez couldn’t shut down the Rangers in the second, serving up a no doubter to Joey Gallo and giving Texas a commanding 4-1 advantage. Much to their chagrin though, the Rays also wouldn’t go away quietly.
Tampa Bay answered in the third after Daniel Robertson singled to center, then went to third on a Souza double to left. Dickerson drove home Robertson on an opposite field single, before Souza came home on Longoria’s second RBI groundout of the night, bringing the Rays within one.
Yet it appeared the baseball gods didn’t want the Rays to win their second game in a row as the Rangers stretched their lead in the fourth against reliever Jose Alvarado. It was clear from the start that Alavardo’s command was spotty at best and/or missing completely. And when he was able to find the zone, he got hit. Alvarado allowed a double to right to Gallo before scoring on a single to center of the bat of former Ray Robinson Chirinos. Tim Beckham was able to help the cause when he made an outstanding play for the second out of the inning, cutting down Chirinos at the plate and limiting the damage. That made up for his botched double play earlier in the game.
While consistency isn’t Beckham’s strong suit, at times he can make some very tough plays look very easy
— Jason Collette (@jasoncollette) May 30, 2017
Cash pulled Alvarado in favor of Ryne Stanek, who notched a strikeout to end the fourth. Stanek also worked a scoreless fifth, giving to keep Tampa Bay in the ball game.
The Rays tied it up in the fifth against Perez. Souza hit a one out single (his third hit of the night) then, two batters later, Longoria crushed a two-run homer to center field, making it a 5–5 game.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 30, 2017
As fate would have it though, Texas moved in front 7–5 in the sixth with Jose De Leon on the mound. A common thread for the Rays hurlers in the contest, De Leon also had a hard time commanding and locating his pitches. There were times when he looked absolutely dominant, then others where he seemed to be pitching around the zone, not attacking it. Because of it, they found themselves down by a pair.
Despite the wishes of the baseball gods, Tampa Bay took the lead for good against the Rangers’ bullpen. Souza sparked the rally with a double to left off Jeremy Jeffress — his fourth hit of the night. Southpaw reliever Alex Claudio took the mound in relief and promptly hit Corey Dickerson in the elbow with his first pitch. Longoria hit a chopper off the plate, putting runners into scoring position before LoMo struck out. But this is where things got interesting.
For some reason, Jeff Bannister thought a wise decision to bring right-hander Tony Barnette into the game. Rays skipper Kevin Cash countered the move by pinch hitting Colby Rasmus for Rickie Weeks Jr. The decision immediately paid dividends, as Rasmus doubled to right-center on the first pitch of the at-bat, scoring two and tying the game at seven. Then after Kiermaier was intentionally walked — another inexplicable decision by Bannister — Tim Beckham drilled a three-run homer to left-center, putting the Rays up 10-7.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 30, 2017
Texas made one last gasp in the eighth when Choo drilled a one-out solo homer to right, making it a two-run affair, yet Chase Whitley and Alex Colome, who threw 35 pitches on Sunday, paired up the get the final four outs of the ball-game. Rays win, 10-8
The New What Next
Game two of the three-game series takes place Tuesday with Matt Andriese (5-1, 3.24 ERA, 4.48 FIP) taking the mound opposite Nick Martinez (1-3, 4.69 ERA, 5.20 FIP).
Andriese looks to notch his fifth win in May after he held the Angels to six hits over eight shutout innings in his last start — inarguably his best start of the season. He’ll be making his fourth road start of the season, where he holds a 1-1 record and a 3.00 ERA.
Martinez allowed four runs over five innings against Boston on Thursday. The right-hander will make his fourth start at home, where he has a 3.32 ERA. Martinez has relied primarily on his 93 mph four-seam fastball with average velocity, while also mixing in a 93 mph sinker with little sinking action, an 89 mph worm killer cutter, an 80 mph 12-6 curveball, and a firm 86 mph changeup with slight armside fade. He has no record and a 5.25 ERA in three career outings against the Rays. Key matchups: Tim Beckham (1-3, 3B, RBI), Steven Souza Jr. (1-3, 2B, RBI, BB), Jesus Sucre (1-3, RBI)
Rays 5/30/17 Starting Lineup
— Following the ball game, the optioned RHP José De León back to Triple-A Durham. A corresponding move will be announced later today, with either Austin Pruitt or Chih-Wei Hu being the most likely options since they can provide length.
— DL Update… In an on-air interview with 620 WDAE this afternoon, Kevin Cash updated the DL status of Brad Miller, Matt Duffy, and Wilson Ramos. Miller has been cleared to start his rehab stint with the Class-A Charlotte Stone Crabs, and is slated to play in a game Wednesday. After being cleared to resume baseball activities, Duffy will take a couple of days off, then is expected to resume playing in games with the Stone Crabs later in the week. Ramos was scheduled to catch Brad Boxberger on Monday, and should get at-bats in an extended Spring Training games this week.