Looking for his fifth victory of the year, Erasmo Ramirez got the start and plowed through the Angels’ lineup in the first two frames, putting down the front six batters on 11 pitches. Yet, with the Rays up by a pair, Ramirez allowed a bad-hop single to CJ Cron to lead off the third. Rookie Kyle Kubitza followed with a liner to right-center, moving Cron to second. The right-handed hurler was able to get Johnny Giovatella fly out to deep center, although Cron tagged and advanced 90 feet. Ramirez wasn’t out of the woods yet.
Erick Aybar joined in on the Angels’ fun and plated the first run for Anaheim on a single to right. Erasmo caught a break on the play when Kubitza was thrown out trying to advance to third. Nevertheless Aybar was able to move to second, and came home to tie the score on a single by Subway spokesperson, Mike Trout.
Ramirez bent but he didn’t break — the hurler was able to put a pair of goose eggs on the board in the fourth and fifth innings, before the decision was made to rely upon the bullpen for the rest of the contest. In the end, Erasmo put together a serviceable, albeit short, five inning outing on 78 pitches (50 strikes, 64% K%).
Steve Geltz worked a perfect sixth, finishing with a pair of strikeouts of Cole Kalhoun and Carlos Perez (both swinging). Kevin Jepsen worked around a pair of two-out base runners in the seventh, but got Erick Aybar to end the uprising by forcing a ground ball out to second. Brad Boxberger, making his first appearance after a bout of triceps tightness, also retired the side in order in the eighth, punctuated by a Trout strikeout (swinging) and a diving catch by Kevin Kiermaier in centerfield on an Albert Pujols liner.
Jake McGee then worked the ninth and allowed only a two-out single to earn his first save of the season. Someone I sat next to at the game questioned if/when McGee’s velocity would return. Well my friend, his fastball hit 97 multiple times, and 98 once. I’d say it has returned.
Offensively speaking, the Rays took the lead in the second inning after Asdrubal Cabrera singled and Nick Franklin walked. Though Rene Rivera popped out to second, Kiermaier hit an RBI ground ball single to right and then moved to second on a throw to third when the Angels tried to get Franklin. Joey Butler grounded to third, but rather than throwing to first to get Butler, you know…the obvious two out play, Kubitza saw Kiermaier running toward him. Kiermaier started to head back to second base, giving Franklin the opportunity to score the second run of the inning.
Longoria gave the Rays a unrelinquishabpe lead after the Angels tied the game in the top of the third with a home run to left-center (his sixth of the season) on a first pitch fastball from Jered Weaver.
Weaver went into lockdown mode from there, only allowing a runner into scoring position in the fourth and eighth innings. The tall, soft tossing RHP departed after a two-out double in the eighth by Steven Souza Jr. Tampa Bay pounced on the scoring opportunity added an insurance run when Asdrubal Cabrera hit a ground rule double over the right-center field wall against reliever Fernando Salas. Cabrera ended the night by going 2-4 with a double, a run, and an RBI.
The New What Next
Alex Colome (3-2, 4.54 ERA) will make his fifth consecutive start against an AL West opponent on Thursday, opposite of Garrett Richards (5-4, 4.14 ERA). In his four previous starts versus the West, Colome is 1-1 with a 3.22 ERA. He did take a loss on June 1st against Anaheim when he allowed five runs —off three home runs — in six innings. Richards is coming off his poorest start of the season, allowing six earned runs in an 8-2 loss against the Yankees. Richards allowed three earned runs in six innings in a recent 7-3 Angels’ victory against the Rays. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.
Rays 6/11/15 Starting Lineup
— Everyone in the lineup reached base at least once. Moreover, everyone but Rene Rivera collected a hit.
— The team indicated that Desmond Jennings will be out up to eight more weeks after having successful surgery on his left knee on Wednesday.
— Matt Moore is scheduled for two more rehab starts which could see him rejoin the starting rotation as soon as June 26.
On the other hand, based on how those starts go — Monday for the Charlotte Stone Crabs and June 20 for the Durham Bulls — the team could decide on another rehab start or two.
I don’t know what’s going to go into that decision, Moore told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times). But I think it will be a lot better to make it when we get closer to that time.
— The Rays have allowed two runs or fewer in half of their first 60 games – the most by an AL team in the DH era (since 1973).
— Topkin listed the Rays 40 draft picks (seen below):
1. OF Garrett Whitley Niskayuna (N.Y). HS
2. C Chris Betts Wilson (Long Beach, Calif) HS
3. 2B Brandon Lowe Maryland
4. RHP Brandon Koch Dallas Baptist University
5. OF Joe McCarthy University of Virginia
6. RHP Benton Moss University of North Carolina
7. 2B Jake Cronenworth University of Michigan
8. RHP Reece Karalus Santa Clara University
9. C Danny De La Calle FSU
10. RHP Sam Triece Washington State
11. RHP Ian Gibaut Tulane
12. OF David Olmedo-Barrera Cal-State Fullerton
13. RHP Nichola Padilla Grayson County (Texas) College
14. RHP Tyler Brashears University of Hawaii
15. RHP Ethan Clark Crowder (Mo.) College
16. RHP Joe Davis Bowie (Texas) HS
17. 2B Brett Sullivan University of Pacific
18. CF Landon Cray University of Seattle
19. LHP Porter Clayton Dixie (Utah) State
20. RHP Edrick Agosto No school
21. 3B Matt Dacey Richmond
22. RHP Justin Marsden Mountainview (Wash.) HS
23. RHP Reign Letkeman Big Bend (Wash.) CC
24. RHP Jesus Ortiz Munoz (Puerto Rico) HS
25. 1B Devin Davis Valencia (Calif.) HS
26. RHP Noel Rodriguez Paradise Valley (Ariz.) CC
27. C Joey Bart Buford (Ga.) HS
28. CF Desmond Chumley Longview (Texas) HS
29. 1B Shane Potter La Costa (Calif) HS
30. SS Kyle Teaf USF
31. RHP Timothy Ingram SUNY-Westbury
32. RHP Ty Jackson Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State
33. RHP Colin Chapman Lamar (Texas) University
34. CF Ryan Caldwell Harding Christian (Tenn.) HS
35. 2B Blake Butera Boston College
36. RHP Bryan Bonnell UNLV
37. OF Kewby Meyer Nevada Reno
38. 1B Steven Sensley Louisiana State-Eunice
39. CF Tyler Rand Langham Creek (Texas) HS
40. LF Kahiau Winchester Iolani (Hawaii) HS