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After going 3-3 on their west coast road trip (sweep of the Angels and swept in Seattle) the Rays welcomed in a west coast team in the Athletics who are jockeying with the Angels for last place in the AL West. With news of Logan Forsythe heading to the DL and prized, super utility man, Taylor Motter, making his MLB debut over the weekend, could the Rays rebound from their nightmare series in Seattle before heading back on the road Monday?
Read on, baseball fans.
Athletics 6 Rays 3
Jake Odorizzi had a rough first inning to say the least. The Athletics put up four runs off the Rays righty including home runs by Khris Davis and Danny Valencia (his first of two on the evening). Steve Pearce and Steven Souza Jr helped chip into the lead right away, however, with RBIs in the bottom of the first inning. Odo would settle down until giving up his third home run of the ballgame in the fourth inning off the bat of Marcus Semien. It was a 5-2 lead and with the lethargic Rays offense struggling against lefty Rich Hill, it wasn’t looking good. Evan Longoria doubled home a run in the bottom of the fifth to get the Rays a bit closer but that would end the comeback. Valencia would hit his second bomb of the game in the sixth to end the scoring for Oakland who’d go on to win 6-3.
WP: Hill (5-3) LP: Odorizzi (0-2) SV: Madson (9)
Rays 6 Athletics 0
A spark was definitely needed in the Rays clubhouse and on Saturday it came in the form of righty Matt Andriese making his second start of the season since being called up from Durham for the previous road trip. It was nothing short of a masterpiece. Andriese mowed down Oakland hitting and breezed through a complete game, two-hit shutout, the first complete game of 2016 for the Rays. He was backed by five extra base hits from his offense including Brad Miller’s fifth home run of the season in the third off Athletics’ righty Kendall Graveman. Brandon Guyer, Steven Souza Jr, and Evan Longoria would all hit doubles in the game and Corey Dickerson would hit just the second triple of the season for the team. The win sets up a rubber match on Sunday between Matt Moore for the Rays and Sonny Gray for Oakland.
WP: Andriese (2-0) LP: Graveman (1-5)
Rays 6 Athletics 5
Recently retired Grant Balfour, who spent parts of six seasons with the Rays, threw out the first pitch before the rubber match between Tampa and Oakland. Then it was Matt Moore’s turn to take the hill as he made quick work of the first two Oakland hitters before giving up a towering solo home run to Danny Valencia, his third of the series and of the season. Brandon Guyer would make sure the lead wouldn’t last long as hit hit his third homer of the season into the left field seats to lead off the bottom of the first inning off A’s starter Sonny Gray. Moore would be graced with yet another long ball off the bat of Guyer just an inning later as the Rays left fielder would hit #2, again, into the left field seats, this time with Pearce and Conger aboard to make it a 4-1 lead for Tampa Bay. Fast forward a bit to the bottom of inning four and Guyer returned to the plate looking for his third home run of the afternoon w two men in scoring position and just one out. He’d settle for the sac fly scoring Steve Pearce from third to tally his fifth RBI of the game and make it a 5-1 lead for the Rays. Valencia would continue to dominate Rays pitching in this series, hitting his second home run of the game (for the second time in three games) in the top of the fifth as part of a three-run inning for Oakland. Evan Longoria would answer right back in the bottom of the inning with a lead off home run, his 7th of the season, to give Erasmo Ramirez a 6-4 lead heading into the sixth inning in relief of Moore. Erasmo would give up a solo, pinch hit home run to Chris Coghlan with one out in the top of the seventh to pull the Athletics to within a run. Alex Colome and Xavier Cedeno would come in and get five outs before a two-out double in the top of the ninth prompted Kevin Cash to bring in Steve Geltz for the final out…to face Valencia…who would deposite his third HR of the day and fifth of the series (and season) into the left center field seats to give the A’s a 7-6 lead and the series win.
W: Axford (3-1) L: Geltz (0-2) S: Madson (10)
Rays travel to Toronto to begin an 8-game road trip. They’ll head to Detroit and Miami after the trip north of the border.
5/16 – Drew Smyly (1-4, 3.63) v JA Happ (5-0, 2.05)
5/17 – Chris Archer (2-4, 4.57) v Marcus Stroman (4-0, 3.54)
5/18 – Jake Odorizzi (0-2, 3.83) v R.A. Dickey (2-4, 4.31)
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