Coming off a series when the Rays took 3 of 4 from the Astros despite scoring only 11 runs, the Rays bats opened a can on the Colorado Rockies, leading the club to a 7-1 win. It was nice to see the hitters show up, and we’ll talk about them soon enough. But first! More good pitching.
Ryne Stanek got the open, and looked dominant right out of the gate. He mixed all his pitches, but especially showcased his split playing off the high octane four-seamer.
Stanek fanned Blackmon and Dahl in front of a soft Arenado single, then struck out Trevor Story.
Bulk man Ryan Yarbrough then came on. After a clean second, he ran into his first bit of trouble in the third when Mark Reynolds led off by muscling a broken bat single to center. Garrett Hampson followed by pushing a nice bunt up the firstbase line. Michael Perez fielded it and made a hurried throw to first that hit Hampson. However, first base ump Will Little made a dicey call that Hampson was out of the runners’ lane (which, to be fair, he was slightly inside it), resulting in an out call and Reynolds being sent back to first. Charlie Blackmon followed by hitting into a 1-6-3 double play that featured a double clutch by Willy Adames on the turn and a nice scoop from Ji-man Choi to finish it.
Yarbrough returned to the mound in the fourth with gauze in his nose from an apparent nose bleed. He proceeded to pitch around a lead off single by Dahl, then worked a clean fifth.
Now about those bats...
It wasn’t exactly a quick start for the Rays. Tommy Pham reached on a first inning error, which did not extend his on-base streak because reasons. The Rays then went down in order against Chad Bettis. In the third, Meadows drew a two-out walk, but Pham was unable to keep the rally going, grounding into a force out.
Choi finally broke up the no-hitter in the fourth by slapping one the other way against the shift for a single. Brandon Lowe also went oppo in the following at bat, getting his first hit — and first homer— of the season.
Yandy and KK kept it rolling with a walk and an automatic double that cleared Crawford cutout on one bounce. Robertson cashed in the scoring chance with an RBI ground out.
Michael Perez was put out at first on a goofy 3-2-4 putout at first when his hard grounder resulted in an even harder throw home, chasing chased KK back to third. But the play developed so quickly there was enough for a return throw to the second baseman covering, getting Petez by half a step. A groundout ended the threat.
Yarbrough went back out to work the sixth, and apparently hit Blackmon’s hand along with the knob of the bat with one out. Dahl followed with a single the other way, sending Cash out to get the lefty. Yarbrough’s line for the night: 4.1 innings, 4 hits, 3 Ks.
Wilmer Font was the new pitcher, on to face Arenado, who hooked one inside the third base bag for an RBI double. Font came back to induce an infield pop out by Story before giving way to Jalen Beeks, who got the call to face the lefty Ryan McMahon. Beeks struck him out swinging on a nasty 3-2 changeup to get out of the jam.
Back to back singles to center by Lowe and Diaz started the Rays’ sixth, and a booming three run shot to right center by Kiermaier chased them home.
Pham phinally extended his on base streak to 37 games when he walked against D.J. Johnson in the seventh, and Choi followed with a single to center. After a Lowe strikeout, Yandy Diaz drew a walk to load the bases. Former Ray Jake McGee came on to face KK, who hit a long sac fly to center.
Former closer* Jose Alvarado got the nod against the top of the Rockies order, giving up a single to Arenado but otherwise looked sharp in the a scoreless eighth. Diego Castillo closed it out in a non-save situation.
*former and future, and then probably former again. Because the big lefty is going to be getting the tough outs no matter when they come up.