Now that's what I'm talking about! In a game I think we all quietly dreaded, Erasmo Ramirez was sharper than ever, the offense rallied behind slugger Rene Rivera for a productive night at the dish, and the Rays locked down a 3 to 1 series win over the Evil Empire.
The aforementioned Erasmo, man of many colorful nicknames of late, put on a terrific performance tonight. He was the picture of efficiency, scattering just 1 hit and 2 walks over 5 innings with just 51 pitches thrown. The bullpen would remain relatively untouched in relief as well. Matt Andriese locked down the remainder of the affair, giving up just 4 hits and 1 run over the final 4 innings. Matt did give up the only Yankee run of the game, an ARod home run of the lead off variety in the 9th inning, but look, guys.. ARod gonna ARod.
Adam put out a wonderful scouting report on Chase Whitley earlier today in the pregame notes. Unfortunately for those two fellows, however, Whitley would exit the game with an elbow injury midway through the second inning. A 1st inning Souza double, followed by a Loney RBI single had the Rays out front 1-0 early, and after a couple of walks and wild pitches in the 2nd, Joe Girardi and the Yankee trainers couldn't get out to the mound fast enough.
Esmil Rogers replaced Whitley and immediately gave up a 3 run shot to Rene Rivera to clear the deck and put the Rays up 4-0.
In the bottom of the 4th, Rogers gave up singles to DeJesus and Butler before Rene "Babe" Rivera knocked in the Holy One with a sharp single up the middle that Jeetah clearly would have snagged on the dive. That put the Rays up 5-0. They wouldn't look back.
Longo put the Rays on the board again in the 7th. After a Souza double, Evan Longoria sent him home with a liner to left that was just out of Brett Gardner's reach. 6-0 Rays.
ARod's 9th inning solo shot prevented the shutout, but tonight's win was the Rays' 20th of the season and puts our hometown heroes just one game back from the Yankees for 1st place in the AL East.
I feel obligated to note, while I never questioned his efficiency as a fielder, I did crucify Asdrubal Cabrera for a lot of other things in my last recap. Dude was outstanding tonight at short. He made several terrific plays, including a highlight reel throw in the 5th that had me jump off my couch pumping my fist. He may have more value than I was willing to acknowledge in anger on Sunday night.
Jake Odorizzi takes on Phil Hughes and the Twins at Target Field tomorrow evening. I like our odds in that series. Let's do this.
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