Looking to rebound from their fourth straight loss, the Rays took on the Tigers in the middle game of the series at Comerica Park. Charlie Morton was tabbed as the starter for the Rays tonight, facing off against rookie pitcher Spencer Turnbull and the Tigers.
Morton’s first run of run support came in the third inning, when Austin Meadows hit a triple to deep right center field. Meadows slid into third, but found himself needing to quickly get back up and run home, as the throw into third base was erratic. Meadows scored, ripped his pants in the process, and gave the Rays a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Avisail Garcia stepped up to the plate with Yandy Diaz on first and two outs. Garcia drove a ball down the left field line to plate Diaz, extending the Rays’ lead to 2-0. With Garcia on second, Ji-Man Choi singled, and thanks to a fielding error by JaCoby Jones, Garcia rounded third and scored to extend the lead to 3-0.
✌️ runs for @RaysBaseball in the 5th, as Ji-Man Choi adds on the third run, driving in @AvisailGarcia!— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) June 6, 2019
Watch the Rays take on the Tigers LIVE now on FOX Sports Sun and FOX Sports Go! #MLB #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/2SRpAhmLkq
While three runs from the offense is hard to complain about after Morton threw seven shutout innings, there were many times where the lead could have been extended by a lot more. Multiple times, the bases were loaded and stranded for the Rays, and this game had the potential to be a very big blowout win to rebound from last night’s loss, with nine Rays runners being stranded through the first six innings.
Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull worked five innings, allowing the three Rays runs (although it’s hard to fault him for two of them). Nick Ramirez followed Turnbull to pitch the sixth inning and Blaine Hardy worked the seventh. Zac Reininger pitched the eighth inning for the Tigers, and Austin Adams worked the ninth.
Charlie Morton was very strong in his seven innings of work. Throwing only 83 pitches, Morton threw 55 strikes, recording eight strikeouts and allowing only five hits. With the top of the order looming in the eighth inning, it was smart to pull Morton after seven, as there was no reason to risk exposing him to a fourth time through the order.
Morton did not walk anybody, nor did he allow any runs, lowering his ERA down to 2.30 and earning his seventh win on the season.
In the top of the eighth, Guillermo Heredia scored on the third error on the night from the Tigers, plating the fourth run for the Rays. For most of the night, the Tigers defense was downright terrible.
Oliver Drake pitched in the final two frames to close this game out, and Drake did so in a quick and quiet manner, retiring six Tigers hitters to end the game with the Rays as the victorious side. Kevin Kiermaier put on a highlight reel in the ninth inning, recording the putout on each of the three outs.
The Rays needed to end their losing streak, and the Rays did just that by beating the Tigers to even the series. With Charlie Morton throwing seven great innings and the offense producing more than the one necessary run, the Rays shut down the Tigers 4-0. The rubber match of the series will take place tomorrow afternoon in Comerica Park at 1pm.