Pruitt shines, gets first MLB win.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – With an impressive 6-2 start to their home slate of games in 2017, the Rays were hoping to keep it going Wednesday night. The second game of three against the Detroit Tigers started out quite nicely for Chris Archer and the home team.
With a little help from the Trop, itself, the Rays broke out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Corey Dickerson double to shallow…yes…shallow right field to lead off. Three Tigers fielders let his seemingly routine pop up drop between them (possibly lost in the dome?) to allow Dickerson to easily trot into second.
Kevin Kiermaier would then lay down a beauty of a bunt down the third base line. With a slight little bump from a chunk Tropicana Field clay – he was standing on first base with an infield, bunt single. Dickerson would move up to third easily.
Smooth it Out
Enter a freshly groomed Evan Longoria who’d trimmed his once full beard prior to the game. A slow hopper to third base with no play later – and Longo was on first driving home Dickerson. Steven Souza Jr would single home Kiermaier to give the Rays a 2-0 lead early in this one.
Archer would be dealing through 2.2 innings collecting six strikeouts along the way. Miguel Cabrera, who came into the game one home run shy of 450, got the Tigers on the board with an RBI single, scoring Ian Kinsler.
Entering the fifth, the Rays had finished up a three-run fourth thanks to some very solid contact and two more RBIs for Longoria. A freshly trimmed Longo was 2-for-2 at that point with a walk and three RBIs in the game. Meanwhile, Archer had racked up eight strikeouts to help his cause.
The Tigers would storm right back in the fifth off Archer. Cabrera wouldn’t get his 450th home run, but he’d deliver once again to start the scoring with an RBI double. Then, Victor Martinez would drive in two more after Shane Peterson couldn’t hold onto a diving attempt in left field. A 6-3 double play would finally get the Rays to the home half with a slim one-run lead.
Danny Farquhar would take over on the mound for the Rays in the sixth.
It would quickly get sticky as Farquhar walked the lead off man and then hit Romine to put two on with no outs. The very next batter, would be Jacoby Jones.
That. Just. Happened.
Heck of a play by Longo to let that pop up bunt drop, then get the double play.
For now. #underreview
— The Scrum Sports (@TheScrumSports) April 20, 2017
Enter Jumbo Diaz.
A few batters later – bases loaded Tigers. A few moments later – Tigers lead 7-5 on a bases-clearing triple for Nick Castellanos.
Fast forward a bit to the bottom of the seventh. Steven Souza at the plate, two on, and he comes through again. An RBI single scored Kiermaier pulling the Rays to within a run, 7-6.
Austin Pruitt has struggled mightily since cracking the Opening Day roster. With Erasmo Ramirez slated to start Thursday – Pruitt would be asked to eat some innings Wednesday night. It would be the perfect time for the rookie to finally come into his own. He would retire the first eight hitters he faced, striking out five before giving up a single to Cabrera in the ninth. A double play later and the Rays would head to the bottom of the ninth needing two for a walk off, one for free baseball.
Bottom of the ninth. Tigers bring in closer Francisco Rodriguez. One run lead on the line. How bout some drama?
Kiermaier leads off with a walk. Longo follows with a double off the right field wall. An intentional walk to Brad Miller loads the bases for Souza Jr who is called out on a check swing. Souza doesn’t like it. Cash doesn’t like it. Cash gets ejected.
Logan Morrison wins it the very next hitter after Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias throws the ball away turning a double play, scoring two for the walk-off. Iglesias took a nasty shot to the head from the knee of Brad Miller after he slipped turning to first. He was down for a while before walking off with little help.
Just the way they drew it up, right?
This game always shows you something new.#RaysWin! pic.twitter.com/zvGWLTLR8x
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 20, 2017
Rays 8 — Tigers 7
W: Austin Pruitt (1-0; 10.00)
L: Francisco Rodriguez (1-1; 5.40)
- Tonight’s walk off was the second of the season for the Rays (11-inning bases-loaded walk v TOR 4/8).
- Rays have won five-straight at home for first time since May 12-22, 2015.
- Chris Archer has been helped by 21 runs of support through four starts in 2017. In 2016 – he received just two runs of support through four starts.
- Austin Pruitt on first MLB win: “I felt calm. I guess I’ve had a bit of bad luck and got hit hard as well. You have to keep continuing to throw strikes. That’s the only way you’re going to possibly get yourself out of that bad luck spell.”
- The Rays and Tigers wrap up their three-game series Thursday with a matinee, 1:10 PM first pitch.
- Erasmo Ramirez (1-0, 3.72) gets his first start of 2017 for the injured Jake Odorizzi. He’ll face Tigers LHP Daniel Norris (1-0, 2.19).
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