The eight game losing streak is over! Bring on the eight game winning streak!
Sporting their Tampa Bay Devil Rays rainbow throwbacks, the Rays were powered by a balanced offense and gritty pitching from ace Blake Snell, jumping to an early lead and then cruising to a 7-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Fred McGriff and Tino Martinez tribute day.
What kind of day was?
Ladies and gentleman, give it up for Misty’s boy, Mr. Jake Bauers!
With the Rays down 1-0 thanks to an unearned run during a long and ragged first from Snell, Bauers ripped a first pitch non-sinker into the gap for his first big league hit. He followed that up with his first major league run two pitches later, when Matt Duffy lined a double of his own to center. Tie game!
In the second, after Blake Snell worked out of a bases loaded without surrendering a run, the Rays got back to back ground ball singles from Mallex Smith and Christian Arroyo. A pop up from Ref Refsnyder then dropped for a hit into the triangle behind shortstop. It also proved elusive on the bounce, allowing Smith to score, Arroyo to move to third, and Refsnyder to advance to second. Productive ground outs from Jesus Sucre and Daniel Robertson pushed the lead to 4-1 after two.
In the third, after another dicey-but-scoreless inning from Snell, Carlos Gomez walked. No, really. Then Mallex Smith hit a homer.
Hahaha no he didn’t. But it was close!
Smith would score a couple pitches later, when Arroyo smoked a grounder that deflected off Seager’s glove and into left.
6-1! Break up the Rays!
That would be it for Felix Hernandez, which was a shame. His replacement, Roenis Elias, was much better. Elias held the Rays to just one run over the next four innings.
Meanwhile, Blake Snell was settling down. Sort of. Okay, not really. But he still went six innings and gave up just two runs (one earned) on seven hits, while walking two, striking out only one (??!!??) and plunking the first batter of his career. And he threw more strikes than balls. And we won the game. So stop complaining.
The Mariner made it a 6-2 game in the fifth, when Nelson Cruz went yard. Because, well, sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.
The Mariners best shot to make it real game came in the sixth. Mike Zunino led off with a single to right, then Denard Span sliced one the other way. Refsnyder, playing left today, made a nice sliding play to keep the ball from getting to the corner, then made a strong a throw to Arroyo at third to nail Zunino.
And yeah, it was a really nice play. But dat slide tho!
The Mariners made it a 6-3 game in the seventh against Diego Castillo on a single, a couple wild pitches, and a ground out. He escaped the inning on a Devil Rays performance piece tribute.
Everybody is okay! Plus, Gomez hangs on.
The Rays got the run back in the bottom of the seventh. Daniel Robertson led off with a walk, then advanced to third on Matt Duffy’s second double of the game. DRob’s slide was also — uh — well, just look.
He scored a few pitches later on a Joey Wendle sacrifice fly. Thankfully, he didn’t have to slide.
Chaz Roe came on to bail out Castillo when the eighth inning started to go sideways, then finished it off for his first save of the season.
The Rays go for the split of this four game set tomorrow at 1:10 PM as Nate Eovaldi takes on James Paxton.