An orange glowing spaceship. (Photo Credit: X-Rays Spex)

After a 4-1 win over the National League-leading Pittsburgh Pirates, the Tampa Bay Rays will go for the series win tonight.

At 24-6 on the season, the Rays enter play a season-high tying 18 games over .500 and in first place in the division.

Randy Arozarena got things started for Tampa Bay in the fourth inning with a line-drive double. Harold Ramírez followed with an RBI single for the go-ahead one-run lead.

Yet, Pittsburgh pushed across a run in the next half-inning.

Even so, with the game knotted up at one apiece, the Rays put up a two-spot to retake the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Manuel Margot sparked the rally on a five-pitch walk before moving up to second after José Siri lined a single to center. With one out and two on, Wander Franco singled Margot home for a lead the Rays would never relinquish.

Then, an exciting double steal — with Franco swiping second base, while Siri stole home — put them up by two. All told, the Rays stole four bags on Tuesday.

Barreled Ramírez capped the scoring in the bottom of the sixth, launching a 430-foot missile that came off his bat at 105.8 MPH.

On the mound, the recently returned Javy Guerra opened for bulk-guy Josh Fleming. Guerra’s start lasted 19 pitches (and just shy of an inning) before the left-hander took over with Pittsburgh threatening to score. Guerra walked a pair and appeared to struggle with his new release point. It will be interesting to see if he can right the ship, with the aforementioned release point, going into his next outing.

Fleming allowed one run on two hits and three walks with a strikeout before exiting the ballgame after 3.2 innings of work. He was pulled from the game earlier than expected after he took a 113.1 MPH comebacker, from Ke’Bryan Hayes, off his foot. X-Rays on the injury came back negative. He was unable to continue after throwing a couple of warmup pitches.

It’s not as swollen as I thought it was going to be. It missed the ankle, which is a good thing, but it hurts a little bit. The minute it hit me, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s not good.’ I had a feeling I was going to get taken out. I was trying to stay in as much as I could, but [I] just didn’t have any sort of push-off when I threw those last two pitches.

— Josh Fleming

At the moment, Fleming is considered day-to-day.

Colin Poche entered in relief of Fleming and allowed an unearned run (which was credited to Fleming) on a sacrifice fly, and struck out one.

Ryan Thompson put together a productive inning with two punchies and an out at first to Yandy Díaz.

Jalen Beeks and Kevin Kelly, both of whom put together an inning of work, held the Pirates scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings. Finally, Jason Adam closed things out, earning the save.

The New What Next

Shane McClanahan (5-0, 2.12 ERA, 3.3.0 FIP) will get the start in the second game of the series this afternoon, pitching opposite Mitch Keller (3-0, 3.53 ERA, 3.69 FIP).

Shane McClanahan allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over five innings against the White Sox on Thursday. He struck out five in the short outing and threw 51 of 73 pitches for strikes (70% strike rate). McClanahan is now tied with Gerrit Cole and Joe Ryan for the most wins in the league following Thursday’s victory. The southpaw also ranks seventh with 42 strikeouts. Overall, McClanahan maintains a 2.12 ERA and a 3.30 FIP on the season, with a 1.09 WHIP, and a 3.00 K/BB.

Mitch Keller allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings against the Dodgers. He struck out 10. Keller allowed a pair of runs in the first inning but managed to skirt further damage with a 10-punchout performance, setting a new season high. The 27-year-old hurler now has five consecutive quality starts, lowering his ERA to 3.53 and his FIP to 3.69, with a 1.21 WHIP, and 3.33 K/BB over 35.2 innings. He relies primarily on a 91 mph cutter that has some natural sink and strong cutting action and a whiffy 96 mph fourseam fastball that has some natural sinking action, while also mixing in a 94 mph sinker that has slight arm-side run, an 83 mph slider that has exceptional depth, and a 78 mph curveball that has slight glove-side movement. Key Matchups: Randy Arozarena (1-3), Josh Lowe (1-2), Luke Raley (1-2, RBI)

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.

Rays 5/3/23 Starting Lineup

  1. Díaz 1B
  2. Franco SS
  3. Ramírez DH
  4. B. Lowe 2B
  5. Walls 3B
  6. J. Lowe RF
  7. Siri CF
  8. Raley LF
  9. Mejía C


— This afternoon, the Rays placed RHP Pete Fairbanks on the 15-Day Injured List (retroactive to April 30) with right forearm inflammation. To take his place on the roster, the team selected RHP Chase Anderson — who was acquired from the Reds for cash considerations — to the major league roster. To clear room on the 40-man roster, RHP Zack Burdi was designated for assignment.

Fairbanks told Tricia Whitaker (Bally Sports Sun) he’s not concerned with the forearm inflammation and it should be the minimum stint on the IL. He also noted that it is a separate issue from what brought him out of the game last weekend in Chicago.

— Tyler Glasnow will throw three innings in a rehab start with Triple-A Durham later this week. The right-hander threw two innings in a live batting practice session on April 29 at Tropicana Field and “all went well,” Cash said.