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Rays 4, Athletics 3: Responding with runs leads to success!

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Scoring runs at the right time is a good strategy for the Rays offense.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays dropped the series opener against the Oakland Athletics last night, 2-1. With Michael Wacha on the mound opposing A’s starter Frankie Montas, the Rays are looking to even the second game of the four-game series at home.

On the very first pitch the Rays offense saw tonight, leadoff hitter Kevin Kiermaier hit a triple to right field after a scoreless top of the first. A fielding error by A’s third baseman Vimael Machin allowed Randy Arozarena to get on base, but more importantly, plate the game’s first run.

Oakland tied the game up in the top of the second after loading the bases on three consecutive singles. A groundout to first plated the run, but Wacha was able to lock it in and not allow Oakland to plate any additional runners, moving this tied game forward. Wacha recorded his second strikeout of the game in the fourth inning.

Wacha’s day was done after five innings of work. He threw 69 pitches, striking out two while walking none and allowing one run on five hits. Jeffrey Springs was brought in to relieve him and immediately allowed a double to Matt Olson. Olson moved up to third on a wild pitch and scored when Mitch Moreland hit a sacrifice fly.

Olson was probably scoring regardless, but Kiermaier made things scary by rushing into left field and stealing Arozarena’s ball to try and throw Olson out at home.

The Rays offense in the bottom of the sixth showed something it has lacked lately: resilience. Francisco Mejia hit a two-out single to extend the inning and bring Brett Phillips to the plate. Brett Phillips put the Rays in the lead with a two-run home run to left-center field, making it a 3-2 ballgame.

The Rays were done scoring in the sixth, but continued the offensive production in the seventh. Randy hit a one-out double and Joey Wendle scored him with a two-out single to make it 4-2 Rays. Yoshi grounded out to end the inning.

The top of the eighth had Trevor Richards replace Ryan Thomspon, who had replaced Springs in the seventh. Richards pitched a scoreless inning. The Rays threatened to extend the lead further, but Mejia was stranded at third in the bottom of the eighth. Diego Castillo was called upon to secure the win for the Rays.

Sean Murphy took the second pitch he saw deep into the left field seats to make it a one-run game, but that would be the only run Castillo would allow, as he induced a groundout and struck out the last two batters to earn the save and complete the win.

With two games from this series in the books, the series is tied and the Rays are back at .500. Tyler Glasnow takes the mound tomorrow against left-handed pitcher Cole Irvin for the A’s with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 pm inside of Tropicana Field.