This was not a high scoring game. But that doesn't mean it wasn't an exciting game. There were dozens of little moments throughout that could have been turning points. In the early going there were brief windows when either team, but especially the Rays, could have taken advantage but didn't. Tampa Bay tallied four hits over the first four frames, to go with two warning track fly balls. For their part, the Angels managed a hit and a walk to go with two warning track flies of their own.
The Rays best chance to draw first blood came in the fifth. Kevin Kiermaier led off the inning with a single to center, then stole second easily on the 0-1 pitch. Then, after a failed bunt attempt, Conger hit a swinging bunt back to the mound. KK didn't appear to have a good read on the play, however, and stayed at second. Logan Forsythe followed, getting in the hole early. But on the 1-2 pitch (a ball), KK took off for third and again took the bag fairly easily. Unfortunately, Frosty and Miller failed to drive him in.
The Angels finally broke through in the fifth inning. C.J. Cron led off the inning with a hard single to center. Johnny Giavotella followed by grounding to the shortstop side of second. Frosty made a good play get to the ball and gave a strong throw to Morrison. However, first base umpire Scott Barry ruled that LoMo came off the bag and called Giavotella safe. The Rays challenged, but the call was upheld. This was probably the right call by the replay umpire, as it didn't look clear and convincing to overturn, though it did look like if Morrison's foot did come off the bag that he probably reestablished it before Giovotella reached. Geovany Soto then laid down a sacrifice bunt, which was quickly followed by a 2-run single by Andrelton Simmons through the drawn-in infield. 2-0 Angels.
The Rays would answer in their half of the sixth. After a wild, flailing strikeout by Longoria, Corey Dickerson worked a solid at bat before grounding to the right side, which first baseman C.J. Cron fielded well off the bag. The feed to Weaver covering first was high, causing the pitcher to leap and miss the bag, and allowing Dickerson to reach on the error.
Steven Souza Jr. followed by working a good at bat, not chasing any of the junk Weaver was throwing and getting ahead 3-0. He also didn't chase ball 4 or ball 5, both of which were called strikes. But justice was served two pitches later, when Souza took a rip at a Weaver offering and finally cleared the fence in left.
Things got a little dicey for Jake in the bottom of the frame. Mike Trout lined a one-out single to center, which set up the second cat-and-mouse game of the night between Trout -- who clearly wanted to run -- and Odorizzi. But where Jake did a nice job of keeping Trout close in first inning, this time an errant pickoff throw hit Trout, allowing him to advance to second on the deflection. Odorizzi recovered nicely, challenging and striking out Pujols, then elevating fastballs to Calhoun and inducing another strikeout, leaving Trout stranded at second.
That would close the book on Odorizzi at six innings. He would be charged with just the two runs on five hits, with a walk and four strikeouts. The rubber-armed swingman Erasmo Ramirez came on to work the seventh and eighth innings giving up a hit and a walk.
The book would also close on Weaver after six, tagging him with two runs -- one earned -- with five strikeouts and no walks. The Rays were clearly frustrated by his slow and slower stuff. And it made a difficult contrast to the weird arm angle of Greg Mahle and the stuff of Cam Bedrosian, who shared the seventh and eighth while retiring the Rays in order and adding three strikeouts between them.
For the ninth, another odd arm angle came out of the pen for the Angels in sidearmer Joe Smith. Steven Souza greeted him with a single. Then, with Morrison at the plate and Souza running, the Angels pitched out. Souza put on the brakes, caught in the rundown. But the throw back to first hit Souza and was deflected toward dugout, allowing him to reverse field again and reach second. Morrison then took ball four, putting two runners aboard.
After a brief discussion, the Rays attempted to sacrifice the runners over with Desmond Jennings, but the bunt was toward first instead of third like you would prefer in that situation. Cron, who was crashing hard, fielded it cleanly and made a strong throw to get the lead runner in Souza. Then after a soft grounder to short forced Jennings at second, it looked like the Angels might wiggle off the hook.
Curt Casali, who had pinch hit for Hank Conger earlier, had other ideas. He drew a walk on a nice at bat, taking a couple frisbees from Joe Smith and refusing to chase. That brought up the world's most dangerous man, Logan Forsythe, who proceeded to soft serve one up the middle for a two-run single.
Colome came on to work the ninth, surrendering a single but otherwise pitching well and closing the door to give the Rays the series win.
- The start of the game was delayed several minutes due to issues with the replay system.
- C.J. Cron had a rough day at first. In addition to the error, he faked out his second baseman on a groundball by Hank Conger into the shift, resulting in a single.
- Brad Miller made several nice plays, robbing Calhoun more than once.
- Evan Longoria looked terrible. I'm not entirely sure he even had his eyes open for all his swings.
- Dickerson didn't look great either, and for some reason kept losing his thumb guard.
- Brian Anderson had a great TV moment talking about Kevin Kiermaier after KK cut off a Trout single and then hurried to get the throw back in case Trout had any ideas. "He plays centerfield like he's playing against himself," BA said, and suggested that the Rays could have a WWKD wristband giveaway.
- Erasmo Ramirez now has six wins, tying Chris Sale for the league lead.
- Jake Odorizzi still has zero wins.
- Hank Conger was featured on Late Night with the Rays. Food featured prominently. Apparently he once ate 72 chicken nuggets before baseball practice while growing up (kids are dumb). Also, his mom won't give him the recipe to his favorite dish to make sure he comes home to visit (moms are smart).
- The Rays are back at .500!
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