Matt Andriese picked up his first major league win tonight in the Rays' 7-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Andriese, having just been recalled to replace the injured Jake Odorizzi, easily pitched the best he has in his brief time in the big leagues, going 5.2 innings while allowing two runs -- zero earned -- and striking out five. After two nights in a row of their starters going only five innings, anything above that was going to be a blessing.
As usual, Andriese got a lot of outs via the groundball (five to be exact) but used his fastball well enough to also get five strikeouts. The only two runs against him came in the fifth inning after a four pitch walk with one out to the number nine hitter Carlos Sanchez. Adam Eaton then laid down a bunt which Rene Rivera was unable to field and throw cleaning, sending the ball past a lunging Jake Elmore into right field, scoring a run and sending Eaton to third. Alexei Ramirez would then bring Eaton home on a sacrifice fly, tying the game.
The rays bullpen was a little shaky, turning a comfortable four run lead heading into the seventh inning into a much tighter one run game three outs later. After back to back one out singles, Brandon Gomes was brought in to protect the four run cushion. Instead he threw a wild pitch which allowed both runners to advance, gave up an RBI ground out to Ramirez, then allowed a two run opposite field homer to Jose Abreu. I'm not giving Gomes TOO much shit for the home run since this is the pitch that got hit out, but, still. It's a home run.
(h/t Cespedes Family BBQ)
Thankfully Steve Geltz and Jake McGee were able to pitch perfect eighth and ninth innings to hold onto the victory.
Geltz and McGee were only in place to preserve the victory thanks to a rare offensive outburst from the lineup. The scoring started in the third inning after a Nick Franklin walk, Mikie Mahtook single, and Rivera sac bunt gave them runners on second and third with one out. Brandon Guyer and the red hot Joey Butler followed with run scoring singles. Butler would single again in the fifth inning, later coming home on a Logan Forsythe sacrifice fly.
Arguably the most important inning of the game came in the sixth. Clining to a one run lead, the Rays scored three runs this frame, none better than Jake Elmore's tag of home that just evaded the tag of Tyler Flowers. With runners on the corners and one out, Rivera hit a dribbler to the second base side of the mound. Sanchez charged and threw home, but because the throw was to the first base side of the plate Elmore was able to slide to the back side and just slap his hand down before the tag. Kevin Kiermaier and Butler each followed with run scoring singles.
With the Yankees loss tonight the Rays sit just one game out of first place with Chris Archer taking the hill tomorrow. I like their chances.
- Jake Elmore has been a fun player. He's fielded multiple positions and moved his slash line up to .288/.333/.407.
- Speaking of slash lines, Joey Butler has been amazing. It can't possibly last, but until it doesn't, let's all enjoy it. He increased his line to .342/.369/.521 in 122 plate appearances.