Lowe’s mammoth home run in the first jump starts Rays into monster offensive day at the plate.
ST. PETERSBURG — BRAN[don Lowe] sat on the iron throne in tonight’s ball game as he started the onslaught with a 409 foot three-run home run — his fifth of the season.
The offense was on a mission tonight. Seemingly every ball that was put into play was barreled up, including three balls that went over the fence.
Brandon Lowe started it off in the first, followed by back-to-back home runs from Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Diaz to lead off the third inning. For Choi, who finished the game 2-for-2 with two walks, this was his first home run of the season and traveled an estimated 426 feet. It ended a career long 19-game homerless drought. For Diaz, this home run was his fourth of the young season.
Austin Meadows was removed from the game for a pinch-hitting in the sixth, however it was not injury related. The team already had a comfortable lead and with a lefty on the mound, Kevin Cash just wanted to keep Guillermo Heredia fresh as they are set to face some lefties in the up coming games.
The Rays ended the evening with eight runs on 13 hits.
Pitching was dominant yet again
For as good as the offense was tonight, the pitching was just as good, if not better. The staff combined to allow only three hits, however one was a solo home run in the seventh inning.
“[Ryne] Stanek came out and set the tone and had the high velocity,” Cash said regarding the pitching. “Yonny [Chirinos], he had some high velocity too. He really mixed his sinker really well.”
Ryne Stanek started the game allowing one hit, yet striking out the side on 14 pitches. Yonny Chirinos replaced Stanek in the second and continued the strikeout trend, getting five of his first six hitters out on strikes.
Chirinos earned his third victory of the year tossing five strong innings allowing no runs. He struck out five Orioles and lowered his ERA to 3.26.
Tommy Pham ended his franchise record 48-game on-base streak tonight going 0-for-4.
“One thing to talk about is Tommy Pham,” Cash said after the game. “You have to see a direct correlation form the time we acquired him last year and to where we are now and how things have turned in the right direction for this organization. So what he did and his accomplishments, it’s pretty impressive.”
No, not that one. Tonight’s win now gives the Rays their sixth series win of the season (6-0-0).
The Rays are 15-1-2 in their last 18 series and 18-2-2- in their last 22 series.
You can’t help but notice how much fun this team is having.
“A lot. We’re having a lot of fun, and for good reason. For a young group of guys to experience this right out of the gate, it’s certainly beneficial to the team and probably their individual careers,” Cash answered when asked how much fun the team is having.
“A lot. Everybody on the team is having a lot of fun,” Lowe answered when asked the same thing. “It’s a great clubhouse to be in. You take all that and that great energy to the field and it really carries over.
Mike Zunino, who busted out tonight with three hits including two doubles, said after the game that this has been the most fun he’s had playing baseball.
Whether it’s in the dugout, the loud music in the locker room, or Willy Adames helping us interview Daiz after the game — this is a group of guys having fun. A lot of fun.
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