Tampa Bay scored first, taking a 1-0 lead in the third inning against RA Dickey. Tim Beckham worked a lead off four pitch walk to start the frame, but was nearly picked off first by the knuckle baller. Manager Kevin Cash sought to have the play reviewed, and the replay overturned an initial call. Beckham caught another break when he was balked to second, then moved to third on a groundout by Curt Casali. John Jaso continued his hot hitting with an RBI double to right, giving the Rays a one run advantage.
They had an opportunity to extend that lead in the fifth, as Beckham attempted to score from second on Jaso’s two-out single to Kevin Pillar in center field. However Pillar had other ideas and gunned Beckham down at the plate. As BA pointed out on the broadcast, Beckham was a bit tentative as he came to third base — looking behind him to see where the play was, instead of putting his head down and charging home. His hesitancy cost him a few steps ahead of Pillar’s throw, and thus a run.
Meanwhile Erasmo was in the midst of another solid start, working around a few blips to get to the fifth with a 1-0 lead. However the luck dragons nipped at Ramirez’s heels in the fifth, and ultimately spelled his doom.
With Kevin Pillar on third (after a leadoff double by Pillar) and a productive infield out by Ezequiel Carrera, the smiley guy caught an unlucky break when first baseman James Loney couldn’t hang on to a popper in foul territory that drifted into the stands as a fan hit his glove. Devon Travis took advantage of the second chance with a double that made tied the game at one apiece.
Ramirez got Jose Reyes to pop out for the second out of the inning, but still had the dangerous Josh Donaldson at the plate and the go-ahead run at second. While his pitch count sat at an efficient 65 pitches, one of the American League’s top pitchers for the past few months couldn’t stave off the dreaded visit to the mound by Cash. The Rays skipper summoned Steve Geltz, whom he said simply was the better matchup following the game.
The move to pull the righty was confounding to many, Ramirez included:
Of course, you’re just one out away from (the end of the inning), and there’s a righty coming and you’re feeling good, you’re throwing strikes, I was surprised, Ramirez said. But at the same time you have to say, ‘Okay, he’s coming with the relievers.’ I have no problem, I did my job and now I have to cheer for my teammates and wish they do the job and we get the win.
To be clear, despite what Cash may say, he does not trust Ramirez. The Rays manager allowed Odorizzi to give up five runs in one inning (six overall) the day prior, yet he pulled Ramirez two outs into the fifth after he allowed just one run on 65 pitches. Erasmo deserved better.
Geltz got the final out in the fifth, and now has stranded 18 of 20 inherited runners. Yet the plan blew up in the face of Cash after Joey Bats hit his 18th homer to start the sixth for a short-lived 2-1 advantage.
Down by one in the seventh, the Rays tied the game when John Gobbons turned the ball over to the Jays bullpen. Brandon Guyer hit a bomb to left off lefty Aaron Loup on a 1-2 pitch.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 18, 2015
Ryan Tepera pulled a Geltz and got the final out in the seventh, but allowed a leadoff homer to Curt Casali in the eighth for a 3-2 Tampa Bay advantage.
Cash leaned on the three-headed monster that is Kevin Jepsen, Brad Boxberger, and Jake McGee in the final three innings of the game. Jepsen threw a 1-2-3 seventh inning and was credited the win. Boxberger entered the game in the eighth, and after giving up a single to Jose Reyes, got Josh Donaldson to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. Bautista was hit by an errant curveball, then was balked to second. Boxberger walked Edwin Encarnacion on four pitches — a glaring example of an intentional/unintentional walk if ever there was one — but Justin Smoak grounded into the shift to Logan Forsythe to end the rally. McGee then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
The New What Next
Chris Archer (9-6, 2.74) will make his first start of the second half after ending the first half on a sour note — Archer allowed nine earned runs in six innings against the Royals on July 8. He has made four consecutive starts against the Blue Jays of seven-plus innings pitched in which he allowed three hits or fewer and one earned run or fewer. He’ll be opposed by Marco Estrada, who is 5-2 with a 3.21 ERA since June 2. Estrada has made one start against the Rays in 2015, pitching a season-high 8-2/3 innings in a no-decision on June 24. That night, he carried a perfect game into the eighth inning. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.
Rays 7/19/15 Starting Lineup
— John Jaso has now hit safely in eight of his nine games (with a plate appearance) since his return.
— The Rays said Steven Souza Jr. (pinky) came through Saturday’s rehabilitation game well, and is slated to play seven innings in right field today for the Charlotte Stone Crabs. He will rejoin team Tuesday in Philadelphia.
— LHP Blake Snell has been promoted from Double-A Montgomery to Triple-A Durham. The move sets up the potential for a September call-up.
This is the second promotion this season for Snell, who started the year with the Class-A Charlotte Stone Crabs.
Snell boasts an impressive 9-2 overall record, with a 1.20 ERA. He’s allowed just 55 hits in 89-2/3 innings, with 40 walks and 120 strikeouts — a 3-to-1 K/BB.
One step closer, Rays manager Kevin Cash was quoted as saying.
— Today is seventh consecutive day (including the All Star Break) without a roster move for Tampa Bay — the longest they’d gone previously was five. That will likely change Tuesday with the activation of Souza from the DL.
— Saturday was only the 11th game in Rays history that they hit the game-tying and game-winning homers in seventh inning or later. The last game they did so came on September 28, 2011 — commonly referred to as Game 162.