The Rays were coming in hot on Friday after their sweep of division rivals the Toronto Blue Jays, and having scored at least six runs in five straight games. They would enter Detroit at .500 once again in hopes to continue to ride the surging offense through Motown. However, a series loss wouldn’t be the worst part of their road trip as Gold Glove centerfielder, Kevin Kiermaier, would be sidelined for 2-3 months after breaking his hand in game two. How did the series play out on the scoreboard?
Read on, fans.
Rays 7 Tigers 5
The Rays came out swinging, and quite literally – as Steven Souza Jr. (slotted in leadoff to give Brandon Guyer a day off) blasted a solo home run on the second pitch of the game from Anibal Sanchez to make it 1-0 Tampa Bay. Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison would drive in a run each, and by the end of the top half of the first, TB was up 3-0. Matt Andriese toed the rubber against the Tigers, looking to improve to 3-0. He would run into some trouble in the second, when he balked in a run scoring Justin Upton from 3rd. Ian Kinsler would prove to be pesky to get out in the third, and that would come back to haunt the Rays as the next hitter up and ever-so-dangerous Miguel Cabrera connected on a 1-1 pitch to send it into the right field bleachers and tie the game at three apiece. Both pitchers would be locked in from there until the sixth, when the Rays chased Sanchez out of the game when Longoria and Pearce both reached with nobody out. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus would go fetch lefty Kyle Ryan to keep the game tied. Dickerson would strike out but Morrison would reach on a walk, loading the bases. Kevin Kiermaier would un-tie the game and clear the bases with a three-run triple, giving Tampa Bay a 6-3. After a pitching change to bring in Ryan Webb, Detroit would strike back with only one run in the bottom half of the inning of a James McCann RBI single. The Rays called upon Erasmo Ramirez to limit the damage, and he would do so by getting Jose Iglesias to ground into a double play. The Rays would go quietly in the top half of the seventh, but the Tigers would get a run in the bottom frame by none other than ‘Mr. Dangerous’ himself when Miguel Cabrera smacked his second home run of the game to make the score 6-5. But, in a moment of resiliency, Steve Pearce would also find the bleachers in the eighth and the Rays once again had a two-run lead. Enny Romero would pitch a clean eighth, and Alex Colome would work around a first inning error by Brad Miller and Miguel Cabrera single to slam the door on Detroit, ensuring the Rays a 7-5 victory.
WP: Andriese (3-0) LP: Sanchez (3-5) SV: Colome (11)
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Tigers 5 Rays 4
It was said on the TV broadcast that the two players the Rays could not afford to lose were Logan Forsythe (currently on the 15 day DL) and Kevin Kiermaier. Well, they completed the nightmare sweep Saturday when Kiermaier dove for a ball dropping into shallow centerfield and broke his hand in the sixth inning. The game had just been tied after Evan Longoria hit his eighth home run of the season, and 500th extra base hit of his career setting a team record. Drew Smyly and Tigers top prospect, Michael Fulmer, were locked in a pitcher’s duel into the seventh inning when the Tigers would finally tee off on reliever Steve Geltz to break the game open and take a 5-1 lead into the eighth. Tampa would answer back with three runs in the top of the eighth inning with a two-run triple from shortstop, Brad Miller, aiding the effort. Francisco Rodriguez would slam the door shut in the ninth, however, and notch his twelfth save of the season and dropping the Rays back to .500.
WP: Fulmer (3-1) LP: Smyly (2-5) SV: Rodriguez (12)
Tigers 9 Rays 4
Chris Archer entered Sunday’s finale against the Tigers having an ERA of 10 in the first inning this season. Don’t adjust your monitors. You read that correctly. It’s been a grind for the Rays ace in 2016 but he’s put together a few quality starts and looked to help Tampa Bay take the series in Detroit. However, it would prove to be another struggle early as Archer quickly gave up two runs in the first inning and was pulled after getting through the third inning having given up six runs on eight hits. The Rays offense would not be able to keep up with the Tigers despite home runs from a surging Logan Morrison and infielder Tim Beckham, both hitting their second of the year. Ryan Webb pitched three innings of solid relief but it would be Dana Eveland and, once again, Steve Geltz who would surrender the rest of the Detroit offensive onslaught that saw home runs from Miguel Cabrera, who would leave the game with an injury, and Victor Martinez.
WP: Zimmerman (7-2) LP: Archer (3-5)
The Rays head to Miami for some interleague action against the Marlins. Monday will be the 100th meeting between the two teams.
5/23 – Matt Moore (1-3, 5.09) v Wei-Yin Chen (3-2, 4.22)
5/24 – Jake Odorizzi (1-2, 3.81) v Tom Koehler (2-4, 4.71)
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