Powered by a season high five long-balls, and a solid bullpen performance from Jose Alvarado and Alex Colome, the Tampa Bay Rays bounced back from a one-run loss to beat Cleveland Tuesday night, 6-4.
As they’ve been wont to do this season, Tampa Bay took an early lead in the second inning when Colby Rasmus blasted a homer to right-field off starter Danny Salazar.
Colby Rasmus cranks a solo home run to right-center field to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd inning
It was Rasmus’ fourth home run of the season. Tampa Bay was able to extend that lead when Derek Norris (line drive homer to left) and Corey Dickerson (homer to right) hit back-to-back homers, on back-to-back pitches, off Salazar in the top of the third inning.
It was the fourth time this year that the Rays hit back-to-back home runs.
Yet down by three, Cleveland answered against Jake Odorizzi when Yan Gomes led off the bottom of the inning with a double to left, then came home on another double to left by Jason Kipnis.
However, Dickerson answered in kind in the top of the fifth, blasting a massive 459 foot solo-shot to center, making it a three-run game.
🎶 now can I get an encore, do ya want more 🎶 pic.twitter.com/uaud0TXyHH
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 17, 2017
Tuesday night marked the fifth career multi-homer game for Dickerson, who also ranks first in batting average, first in hits, first in extra base hits, first in total bases, and first in runs among all designated hitters.
Tampa Bay was able to tack on two more runs in a sixth inning rally, that began with a Steven Souza Jr. leadoff double, chasing Salazar at the beginning of the frame. Three pitches later — and off reliever Shawn Armstrong — Tim Beckham hit a two-run homer to left-center for a five-run advantage.
The extra runs certainly proved crucial in the bottom of the inning.
Cleveland rallied for three runs against Odorizzi, starting when Francisco Lindor blooped a single to center. Michael Brantley followed by doing the same, but to right-center, putting runners at the corners with no outs. Carlos Santana plated the first run of the inning when he lashed a hard hit fielder’s choice right at Logan Morrison, who made an impress diving stop for the first out. Edwin Encarnacion followed by lining a 406 foot homer to center, cutting the deficit to two runs.
But Odorizzi was able to finish off Cleveland without allowing any more damage in the sixth. Unfortunately for the right-hander, however, that snapped his string of five consecutive starts where he allowed two runs or fewer. All told, Odorizzi gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out five over six innings.
Rays skipper Kevin Cash turned to the bullpen in the seventh inning, first calling upon the flame throwing rookie Jose Alvarado. The southpaw worked a perfect frame on 12 pitches, picking up a strikeout in the process, and then put down the next three batters he faced in the eighth on nine pitches (21 pitches total over the two innings of work).
Alex Colome entered the contest in the ninth inning to close out the ball game. And while he allowed a weak leadoff single to Encarnacion to start the inning, he retired the next three batters in order for his tenth save, fanning two along the way.
The New What Next
The Rays will attempt to win their second consecutive road series on Wednesday. Alex Cobb (3-3, 3.65 ERA, 4.23 FIP) will get the start, opposite of Josh Tomlin (2-4, 5.87 ERA, 3.34 FIP).
Cobb looked strong again in his last start (vs. Boston), working his fastball/curveball combo, while allowing three earned runs over 6-1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out five. The right-hander has now allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his last four starts, and improved to 2-1 in the month of May.
Tomlin had a rough start to the season, allowing 13 runs in two starts, but he has gone 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA in his last last five outings. This season, Tomlin has relied primarily on an 86 mph cutter, and an 87 mph sinker which he uses to coax grounders. He’s also mixed in a whiffy 75 mph curveball, an 88 mph four-seam fastball, and an 83 mph fly ball inducing changeup for good measure. In his career against the Rays, the right-hander has gone 2-2 with a 4.06 ERA in six starts. Key matchups: Peter Bourjos (2-8, HR, 2 RBI), Evan Longoria (3-12, 2B, HR 2 RBI), Derek Norris (1-3, 2B)
Rays 5/17/17 Starting Lineup
— Confused as to why Daniel Robertson got the start Tuesday over Brad Miller? Curious about Matt Duffy’s rehab stint with the Stone Crabs? Read more here.
— With runners on first and second and only one out, Robertson was able to do what the tandem of Miller and Beckham couldn’t on Monday night — turn a crucial (and rather pretty) double play. Lonnie Chisenhall grounded sharply to Robertson, who fielded the ball and made a glove-side shovel toss to Beckham. The shortstop quickly turned fired off an accurate throw to LoMo at first, ending the inning.