After taking three out of four contests in Minnesota and two out of three in Arizona, the Tampa Bay Rays returned home to Tropicana Field to take on the Houston Astros, coming off of a series against the Texas Rangers in which they dropped three out of four.
However, the Rays' return to the Trop wasn't the only return us Tampa Bay fans were treated to tonight. Logan Forsythe, on the DL since May 9th with a fractured shoulder blade, returned to the lineup looking to pick up where he left off a month ago.
In short, Frosty didn't miss a beat.
After a first inning in which the red-hot Steve Pierce continued his five-game hitting streak with a two-run, line drive double to the deepest part of the park, Forsythe came to plate for the second time in the second inning.
Forsythe laced a 1-2, two-out offering right down the left-field line and to the corner. Desmond Jennings, who had walked previously, came around to score from first, making it a 3-0 early Rays' lead.
That second inning offense wasn't quite done yet, either.
Brad Miller stepped in immediately after Forsythe and dropped a bloop single into right field. Frosty got his wheels moving and motored himself home from second, 4-0 Rays.
The Rays nearly had a 7-0 lead after Evan Longoria got every bit of a Lance McCullers off-speed pitch and launched it deep to left field. It rang off of the catwalk and dropped into fair territory, prompting Longo to trot the bases while awaiting the call from the umpiring crew. They quickly called the play foul and Kevin Cash immediately came out to challenge the call. After review, the ball clearly struck the ring only a few feet outside the foul pole marker on the catwalk, taking the runs back off the board. The play eventually led to Longo flying out to center to end the inning.
Unfortunately, that was where the offense ended for the home team.
Though, that's not to say individual members of the lineup didn't keep their work going. Pierce finished the night 3-for-4 with two doubles, Forsythe finished 2-for-4 in his return, and Miller finished 2-for-4 himself.
Matt Andriese put his 4-0 record on the line on the hill tonight and worked effectively through the first five innings, posting zeros as he struck out five Astros' hitters.
It was the top of the sixth inning when Andriese unraveled. After getting the hard-hitting Evan Gattis to ground out to lead off the inning, Luis Valbuena doubled down the line in right field. Tyler White immediately followed him with a single to center, scoring Valbuena, 4-1 Rays.
Jason Castro kept the hit parade rolling in round-trip fashion, driving an Andriese pitch to right field and over the wall, scoring two runs and bringing the Astros to within one.
Erasmo Ramirez and Xavier Cedeno earned holds, with Ramirez allowing two hits of 1.2 scoreless innings and Cedeno working a perfect eighth with two strikeouts.
Alex Colome came in for the close and promptly made things interesting himself.
You know what they say about leadoff walks . . .
Colome walked the pinch-hitting Tony Kemp on nine pitches, but recovered for a three-pitch strikeout of George Springer.
Marwin Gonzalez doubled to right, but the Rays were able to hold Kemp at third, putting two men in scoring position with only one out in the ninth.
The Rays elected to give Jose Altuve a free pass to set up a potential double play, but luckily they wouldn't need it. Colome recovered to again, earn a three pitch strikeout, this time of Colby Rasmus, before getting Gattis to ground out on three pitches to end the game, securing his 18th save of the season.