Much like the Greg Popovich Spurs, the 2014 Rays like to keep their guys well-rested and inflict damage when it really counts. Today, that was in the 5th & 6th innings. They took the others off. That's pretty much where we'll begin our recap today.
Very little of note happened early on, other than a wonderful little pitchers duel, as Chris Archer and Anibel Sanchez traded zeros for much of the game. The Rays would remain hitless until the 5th, and the Tigers wouldn't even score a run until the 7th. Logan Forsythe ended the aforementioned no-hitter in the 5th inning when he deposited an Anibel Sanchez fastball into the left field seats, putting the Rays out front 1-0. A lead they would not relinquish.
Hanigan would walk his way on base next, and score from first on a Kevin Kiermaier triple that he absolutely smashed off the right field wall. Hanny had the wheels going, but would have been out by a mile had Alex Avila been able to handle the relay throw. He could not, and it put the Rays up 2-0. Desmond Jennings would knock KK in from third on a single just out of the reach of Ian Kinsler. 3-0 Rays.
The 6th inning would be even more eventful. Joyce & Longo would both hit their way on with singles. Loney followed it up with a walk to load the bases with no outs. Brandon Guyer would plate Joyce on a sac fly. 4-0 Rays. Logan Forsythe then executed a delightfully perfect safety squeeze bunt to score Longo, and would end up safe at first as he beat Sanchez and Cabrera to the bag. Just a brilliantly executed play by Forsythe. Exactly the way they drew it up. 5-0 Rays.
Kevin Kermaier would step to the plate again with two on. He proceeded to mash HIS SECOND RBI TRIPLE OF THE GAME to plate both Loney and Logan. He's so dreamy. 7-0 Rays.
Archer was magnificent today. His fastball touched 97, and his slider kept the Tigers honest. He managed his pitch count well, and would nearly make it a complete game. He hiccuped in the 7th, giving up an Alex Avila homer, then struggled again in the 9th. Chris gave up a lead off homer to JD Martinez followed by a Torii Hunter single. He would strike out Nick Castellanos, but walked Avila after a lengthy battle. After 106 pitches, Joe called upon Grant Balfour to close the deal. The Aussie would strike out Romine and Davis to end the game.
Archer's final line: 8.1 IP 6H 2 R 2ER 4BB 4SO 2 HR
Today's victory brings the Rays to a 40-50 record... hot on the heels of the World Champion Boston Red Sox for 4th in the East. As much as I would like to see our team be clearly defined as a buyer or seller coming to the trade deadline, the whole point of this exercise is to win baseball games. And with the help of guys like Kevin Kiermaier and Logan Forsythe, we're doing that, and a lot of it. I'm eager to see how this plays out.