Longo gave starter Matt Andriese an early three-run cushion with a homer off the batter’s eye in center field. It was Longoria’s fourth homer, and third in a seven at-bat stretch.
The three-run shot off Rangers’ starter Ross Detwiler came on the heels of a Brandon Guyer leadoff single and a walk of Souza. Guyer applied the pressure on Detwiler by swiping third, while Souza advanced to second when the pitch to Longoria was in the dirt.
In the fourth inning, the benches and bullpens emptied after a pickoff play at second base.
Cabrera made a headfirst dive back to the bag and second baseman Adam Rosales appeared to block the base with his knee — the point of contention to Cabrera. Angry, and rightly so, Cabrera used his forearm to push away Rosales.
I’ve played both sides, second and short, and I know that’s not fair to put a knee on the base, Cabrera said.
Cough…in contrast to the brawls involving the Kansas City Royals, both Cabrera and Rosales made amends for the play, shaking hands after the scrum just prior to the challenge of the safe call by Rangers’ manager Jeff Banister. The call was ultimately confirmed after a 3-1/2 minute delay.
The Rays stretched their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Rene Rivera led-off the inning with a walk and Guyer moved him to second, singling the end of Detwiler’s night. Reliever Anthony Bass entered the game, and Souza promptly welcomed him with a three-run blast to the left-field seats on a 2-2 pitch — Souza’s team-leading fifth homer of the season.
Cabrera, who came up with a huge 3-4 night with an RBI and a run, capped the scoring by absolutely destroying a middle-up pitch in the eighth inning. In the words of BA, Cabrera threatened the back wall of the Trop with the massive no doubter. His homer snapped a 49-game homer-less drought by Cabrera extending back to last season
Matt Andriese got the start for Jake Odorizzi and put up zeroes in the first three innings. However, things changed for Andriese in the fourth after he allowed a one-out, two-run homer to Carlos Peguero. Credit where it’s due, Andriese did a great job through the front 3-2/3 innings, especially when you consider that he only tossed two innings of work after being optioned back to Triple-A Durham on April 29th.
The ground ball machine that is Andriese coaxed six grounders out of the Rangers’ hitters, and could play an integral role with the team taking into account the situation surrounding Drew Smyly. It would be interesting to see what the righty can do given the opportunity to get fully stretched out.
Andriese departed from the game two outs into the fourth, as manager Kevin Cash called upon Brandon Gomes got the final out of the inning. Gomes went on to pitch into the fifth before getting pulled in favor of Steve Geltz, who got Gomes out of a two-on two-out jam by fanning Peguero.
Andrew Bellatti made his major league debut in the sixth, and did a terrific job. The 23 year-old righty threw 3-1/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the victory. Bellatti, who arrived at the ballpark a little more than two hours before game time, gave up one hit and one walk while striking out a pair of hitters.
The righty conceded that he was a bit amped up upon entering the game:
I definitely calmed down. The first inning I was pretty pumped. I was kind of looking at the crowd. Then I kind of got into a zone.
Bellatti was a bouncer up the middle, which could’ve been a game-ending double play, away from finishing the game. Yet the former 12th-round draft pick was pulled in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and one out, and the specter of Prince fielder looming on deck. Brad Boxberger entered and got consecutive outs for his eighth save.
The New What Next
The Rays will wrap up their four-game set with the Rangers, with a Mother’s Day matinee. Jake Odorizzi is expected to start opposite of LHP Wandy Rodriguez. You can read about the matchup in our series preview, and I’ll post the starting lineup.
Rays 5/9/15 Starting Lineup
— Umpires, upon request from Cash, reviewed a play two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Adrian Beltre grounded to Logan Forsythe at third, and he skipped his throw to James Loney. Initially Loney bobbled the ball before snatching it out of the air. Beltre was called safe at first, prompting the challenge. After 1:16, the call on the field was overturned, snapping Cash’s 0-for-11 record for challenges.
Cash said the team had a good time after he and video coordinator Chris “Chico” Fernandez got the safe call. Fernandez ended up in the beer shower with Andrew Bellatti. Cash told the media “Chico has been celebrated on,” in his post game presser.
— According to Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), Drew Smyly’s recurring shoulder problems include a tear in his labrum that seems likely to require season-ending surgery.
Smyly was placed on the 15-day DL Friday (retroactive to May 6) after experiencing left shoulder stiffness and tightness during and after his start in Boston on Tuesday.
Smyly told the media Saturday that he was awaiting an MRI exam scheduled for Monday, followed by further examination to pinpoint exactly what is wrong.
The lefty could opt for rehab first. Although if he opts for surgery instead, Smyly would be the third starter (and fourth pitcher overall) sidelined for the season — a list that includes Burch Smith (Tommy John), Alex Cobb (Tommy John this week), and Jeff Beliveau (left labrum surgery).
Per Marc Topkin, Erasmo Ramirez seems the likely in-house replacement for Smyly. After allowing 15 earned runs in just 5-1/3 innings of work to start the season, Ramirez has given up just one run on seven hits and a walk in 12 combined innings out of the bullpen.
Movement between Triple-A Durham and the big league team is also a very realistic possibility — Enny Romero will likely arrive at some point in the not so distant future, while fellow lefties Jordan Norberto and Everett Teaford also remain as possibilities.
…injuries are a reality in this game and one that we have to help prepare for and make sure that we have the requisite depth to get through, said Rays President of Operations Matt Silverman.
Silverman conceded that depth, “is definitely being tested.”
The Rays also are expected to look outside the organization for help, although they will likely seek depth rather than an established major-league hurler.