The boys are back in town.
On a night that would mark the return of Kevin Cash and Asdrubal Cabrera to their old stomping ground, homers from Cabrera, Joey Butler and Steven Souza led the way to a Rays victory.
The Rays offense got started early. After a first pitch Kiermaier ground out on a terrific play by Jason Kipnis, Joey Butler launched a Carlos Carrasco 96 mph offering into the center field seats to put the Rays up 1-0.
The Indians answered in the bottom of the first frame to tie it up. The red-hot Jason Kipnis led off with a double just inside the left field line. Francisco Lindor then laid down a bunt that Nate Karns was not able to handle to put himself on first and advance Kipnis to third with no outs. Karns looked a bit shaken up by the ordeal. After Michael Brantley lined out to Elmore at first, Karns bounced a wild pitch in the dirt past Rivera that sent Kipnis home for an Indians run. It was Karnsy's seventh wild pitch on the season; his eighth would soon follow. After Carlos Santana lined out to center, with David Murphy at the dish, Karns bounced another one that sent Rivera chasing after it and advanced Lindor to third. Nate would pull it together soon after, striking Murphy out looking at a pitch grooved right down the middle and ending the threat. It would be Karnsy's lone blemish on a nice little outing. 1-1.
The Rays yanked back the lead in the second inning. After a Forsythe hustle single was erased by a Souza double play, Asdrubal Cabrera planted another solo shot in the right-field seats. It was his fourth homer on the year, and his first back at Progressive Field since he was traded to the Nationals. 2-1 Rays.
Fast-forward to the sixth inning. With Karnsy's pitch count nearing 80, his momentum began to slow. Franciso Lindor sent a ball back to the mound that bounced off of Nate's glove and into right field for a single. Without an out recorded, Michael Brantley then singled to left to put two on. Cash had confidence in his guy, and a resilient Karns struck Carlos Santana with a nasty 2-2 changeup down and away. Xavier Cedeno struck out the next two Indians in relief, leaving Karns with a final line of 5.1 innings pitched, 6 hits, 4 K's, 1 BB and the lone first inning earned run.
In the top of the seventh, Forsythe hit one deep to left for a single and hustled to try and stretch it into a double. An on-target throw from Brantley to Kipnis nailed him at second in an awfully close play. Kevin Cash had it reviewed, and upon replay it sure looked like he might have had his right hand on the bag before Kipnis tagged his left forearm, but the tag out was upheld. Souza then grounded one to Kipnis that could not be scooped by Santana on the throw, and ended up safe at first with what was recorded as a hit. Asdrubal Cabrera (which keeps trying to autocorrect to Assurable Cabrera), knocked a base hit to right that sent Souza charging to third base to put men on first and third for Jake Elmore. Jake (which keeps trying to autocorrect to James Loney) sent a fly ball to shallow left center, but the throw was offline and a tagging Steven Souza scored standing up. 3-1 Rays.
Souza was back at it in the ninth, when he sent Scott "TV Dad" Atchison's third pitch so far out in left field that it bounced off the roof of a merchandise store. An easy swing and a monster shot. I love watching this kid get ahold of one. 4-1 Rays.
The Rays' pen was sharp in relief of Karns. Cedeno, Geltz, McGee and Boxberger combined for one hit, two walks (both Boxy's), five strikeouts, and no runs.
The win puts the Rays at 39-30, a game ahead of the New York Yankees on top of the AL East. Erasmo is on the bump next against Corey Kluber.
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