The Tampa Bay Rays rallied from a two-run deficit on Wednesday, taking the lead in the third inning, and snapping a three-game skid with a 5–2 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Angels took the lead against Erasmo Ramirez in the opening frame after Mike Trout hit a one-out bullet to center for a double, and Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer to left. It gave the Angels a two-run lead in the first inning for a second straight evening.
But the Rays came back to tie the game against Ricky Nolasco in the second inning, when Logan Morrison worked a leadoff walk, and Steven Souza Jr. drilled a two-run homer to center field two batters later — snapping an 8-for-67 skid.
Steven Souza Jr. hits a two-run homer in the 2nd and follows with a solo shot in the 7th in the Rays’ 5-2 win over the Angels
As the luck dragons would have it, Tampa Bay took the lead for good in the bottom of next inning. Corey Dickerson and Kevin Kiermaier hit back-to-back one-out doubles (to center and right, respectively) for the go ahead lead. But even though the Rays had a chance to score more — after Evan Longoria walked (making him the franchise leader in that category with 543), then both he and Kiermaier advanced on a sac-fly to left by Morrison — Tim Beckham struck out, ending the threat.
The go-ahead lead made a winner out of King Erasmo, who threw six solid and efficient innings on 82 pitches (52 strikes). The right-hander walked one and scattered four hits, while striking out two.
Jose Alvarado followed Ramirez in the seventh, and posted a perfect frame while also notching his second consecutive strikeout of pinch hitter Danny Espinosa (swinging) on three, well placed pitches.
In spite of the aforementioned missed scoring opportunity, Tampa Bay was able to extend the lead in the seventh, when Rasmus and Souza hit back-to-back solo shots, chasing Nolasco. It was the fifth time this season the Rays hit back-to-back home runs; the most in Major League Baseball. They only did so four times last season (tied for the third-fewest).
Ryne Stanek came on in the eighth and fanned Cliff Pennington before getting ahead of, yet ultimately walking, Cameron Maybin. After a brief discussion on the mound with Jim Hickey, Stanek came back to mow down both Trout and Pujols on back-to-back swinging strikeouts to end the frame.
Alex Colome worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save of the season.
The New What Next
The Rays go for a winning home stand on Thursday afternoon when Matt Andriese (4-1, 3.75 ERA, 4.76 FIP) takes the mound, opposite of rookie Alex Meyer (2-2, 5.79 ERA, 4.33 FIP).
Andriese battled through his second consecutive start, going five-plus innings and giving up five runs on six hits against the Yankees. He, however, is 3-0 in his past four outings. He looks to regress back to his previous, efficient form in the series finale on Thursday.
Meyer delivered an uneven performance against New York on Saturday, allowing four runs (three earned) while walking four, and fanning seven over four-plus innings. The 27 year-old rookie has never faced the Rays, and relies primarily on his 97 mph four-seam fastball with natural sinking action, a 97 mph sinker with good tailing action that results in a good number of fly balls, and a hard knuckle curveball.
Rays 5/25/17 Starting Lineup
Souza Jr. RF
— It bears mentioning: after the two hit first, Rays pitching allowed just two hits and two walks over the next eight innings.
— The Rays have activated Tommy Hunter from the DL, while high leverage reliever Jumbo Diaz has been placed on the DL with arm fatigue.