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Rays 4 Tigers 2: Three-run bombs are the best hits

Detroit Tigers v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Rays won today thanks to another great pitching performance by TBD, and two home-runs, one of the three-run variety.

Hunter Wood became the most recent Rays reliever to start a game, and while he did allow two hits, he got the Rays through the first.

He was followed by Matt Andriese who I thought looked very good today. He gave up 2 runs, with Mikie Mahtook singling and James McCann hitting the two-run homer, and for a while those looked like they could be the deciding runs of the game. But he struck out six in three innings — at one point striking out the side — while allowing just one walk, and I thought looked to be well in command of the game.

Ryan Yarbrough also had a stellar three innings, with four strikeouts, no walks and just one hit.

The Rays struggled a bit to score runs against the Tigers’ Jordan Zimmerman. They had their chances, with men on base most innings. They finally broke through on the long ball, first a solo shot by Kevin Kiermaier in the third and finally with C.J. Cron’s three run homer, following Duffy and Kiermaier singles, in the seventh.

Some other highpoints:

  • My new drinking game involves taking a swig whenever Brian Anderson and Dewayne Staats start on a new paean to Joey Wendle. Today they eschewed the usual “gritty” and “grinder” adjectives in favor of calling him a “throwback.” He doesn’t even wear batting gloves! (For the record, neither did Wil Myers). In this case Wendle rewarded them with a hustle double on a ball that I thought had single written all over it.
  • Today was the Rays debut of Ji-Man Choi, at DH. Choi had been acquired for Brad Miller and was called up from Durham in place of Johnny Field. He went two-for-four, with a single and a double. Full disclosure: I had forgotten that the Rays got anyone back for Brad Miller. Seeing him on the team and getting two hits was a pleasant surprise.
  • The top of the 8th the was both the best and worst of times for the Rays defense. Nick Castellanos, who seems to represent a good 75% of the Tigers offense, hit Diego Castillo’s second pitch deep to left. The ball was hit so hard that Mallex Smith could play the carom and fire a great throw to Wendle at second base with a good chance to tag out Castellanos. However, Wendle could not get the tag down, dropping the ball, and Castellanos had a double. One out later, John Hicks lined out to Carlos Gomez in right field. Gomez made the play without too much difficulty, but then threw wildly into the infield, allowing Castellanos to advance to third on the error. The inning nearly unraveled further when Victor Martinez hit a bullet into the left field corner. Mallex Smith, however, tracked it well and timed a perfect dive to grab it before it hit turf. Instead of a run-scoring double we had the third out of the inning. Smith had been inserted in left in place of Jake Bauers the previous inning.
  • I have no idea how Sergio Romo gets anyone out, but I’m glad he does and I’m glad he is ours. He got the save today with two strikeouts.
  • Apparently I’m not the only one who wonders how the heck Mallex Smith manages to run with that Florida pendant around his neck:

If this is tanking, let’s tank some more! On to Minnesota.