I was really excited with the way this one started out. Erasmo Ramirez retired Cameron Maybin! No, really, it’s true! Grounded to third. And you just got this warm feeling that it was gonna be a good night.
The feeling didn’t last long, as Mike Trout dented the centerfield wall on a 3-2 fastball that was not well located, and Albert Pujols did what he’s done to middle-middle 3-1 fastballs for going on 17 seasons now. Just like that, it was 2-0 Angels.
But could you just trust me for once? It’s gonna be okay.
The Rays didn’t waste any time scrapping back into this game, tying things up in the second. Logan Morrison walked to lead off the frame. Then, after Ricky Nolasco made Tim Beckham and Colby Rasmus look silly on strikeouts, Steven Souza Jr. dug in, and took an 0-1 fastball deeeeeep over the fence to center.
The Rays took the lead in the third. With one out, Corey Dickerson hit a sinking liner to left that Ben Revere just missed catching. It’s a ball that if Dickerson hadn’t chipped his bat hitting, it probably carries far enough for Revere to grab it. As it was, Corey hustled into second with a double.
Kevin Kiermaier followed by getting fooled slightly on an 0-1 splitter. But KK managed to stay back on it just long enough to allow him to hook it into right for a double of his own. After an uncertain turn at third, Dickerson came in to score. 3-2 Rays.
Meanwhile, Erasmo was buckling down, and Daniel Robertson was committing some D-Robbery.
Ramirez went a workmanlike six innings giving up just the two runs on four hits. He struck out two and walked one.
In their half of the sixth, the Rays had a chance to tack on. Evan Longoria reached on a “single” that third baseman Cliff Pennington couldn’t handle. Longo ran through bag at first, looked over his shoulder to check on the play, and drifted ever-so-slightly to the left, just like you’ve seen a thousand guys do a thousand times. Except this time, Andrelton Singleton picked up the loose ball and fired it to Luis Valbuena, who tagged a bewildered Longo, and Andy Fletcher rang him up.
Was it a bad call? Well, it was definitely ticky-tac. But Longo did drift, and he may have made the tiniest of head/shoulder moves. You never see it called, and it sure didn’t look like “intent” to me. But maybe the reason you never see it called is nobody ever does what Singleton did?
Logan Morrison of course followed by ripping a double, and you could taste the wasted opportunity. And then LoMo — after several inexplicable aborted pickoff attempts — finally was picked off by Nolasco. The Rays challenged the call, and surely did looked like Simmons tagged dirt instead of Morrison. But the call stood.
After a sharp one-two-three seventh from Jose Alvarado, the Rays decided to stop messing around.
Oh, hey, did you know:
Rays: Hit back-to-back HR for the 5th time this season, most in MLB. They only did so 4 times all of last season (tied for the 3rd-fewest).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 25, 2017
Ryne Stanek came on to work the eighth. And yes, he walked Cameron Maybin. But also struck out Cliff Pennington. And Mike Trout. And Albert Pujols. It was an impressive performance from the young man.
Alex Colome closed it out for his twelfth save.
- Evan Longoria passed Ben Zobrist to become the Rays career leader in walks with 543.
No TV for tomorrow’s wrap up game at 1:10 PM.No Rays broadcast for the wrapup game, but those outside of the Tampa Bay area can watch the Angels’ feed via MLB.