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Rays 6, Phillies 2: Happy Birthday, Airplane Boy!

Rays sweep the miniseries as Phillips and Zunino homer, while Fleming and Co. hold the Phillies in check

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On Brett Phillips 27th birthday, the Rays knocked off the Phillies 6-2. The win improved the Rays to 34-20, a game better than the second place Red Sox, who were rained out, and 4.5 ahead of the Yankees, who were swept by the Tigers.

Collin McHugh got the open, with Josh Fleming expected to provide the bulk innings. They were backed by a heavily left handed lineup.

The Phillies sent out Zach Eflin and a Roman Quinn-less lineup, as Quinn is headed to the IL with and Achilles injury.

McHugh was on his way to a quick and easy first, when he gave up back to back two out singles. With runners on first and third, Cash came out to get the ball and handed it to Fleming. McHugh threw 14 pitches, 10 for strikes.

Fleming broke Brad Miller’s bat with a 91 mph sinker, and got a soft grounder into a dangerous area between home and first. Choi got to the ball quickly and shoveled an accurate toss to Fleming covering.

Fleming proceeded to work through the early to middle innings fairly cleanly, giving up just individual singles in both the second and third and coming away unscathed.

The Rays got on the board in their half of the second, thanks in part to some shoddy Philadelphia defense. Leading off the inning, Meadows hit a pop fly into foul ground that Alec Bohm was tracking but then overran, allowing the ball to drop harmlessly in foul ground. Meadows went on to draw a rare walk from Eflin. A force play and a strikeout later, and Mike Zunino crushed a 1-1 sinker out to left.

2-0 Rays!

The Rays second scoring chance came in the fourth, when Austin Meadows hammered a double to right. However, Wendle and Walls were unable to capitalize, going down on a strikeout and a pop out, respectively.

The birthday boy added on to the lead in the fifth. With two out, Phillips worked a 3-2 count, then launched a dinger out to right.

3-0 Rays!

Singles by Arozarena and Lowe followed, putting men on the corners. That ended the day for Eflin as Gerardi gave the ball to lefty Ranger Suárez.

Choi greeted Suárez with a bullet to right field wall for a double, scoring Arozarena.

4-0 Rays!

Meadows then drew a four pitch walk to load the bases for Wendle. Joey was unable to sink the dagger, as he flew out to center to end the inning.

In the top of the sixth, Fleming gave up singles to Herrera and Segera. He then retired Hoskins on a deep fly to right, with Herrera moving up to third. That would be it for Fleming as he gave way to Kittredge.

Kitt got Realmuto to fly out to center on the first pitch, scoring Herrera. 4-1 Rays. Segura then stole second on a close play, and scored on a ground rule double to left from Miller. 4-2 Rays. Finally, the Bearded One got a groundout to short by McCutchen.

With Brogdon on to pitch for the Phillies in the bottom of the frame, Zunino lined a one out double to left. He was stranded on a Kiermaier strikeout and a Phillips fly out.

Kittredge was still out working the seventh, and sat down the first two hitters quickly before surrendering a double to center by Knapp. The call to the bullpen brought on the lefty Jeffrey Springs to face the lefty bat of Herrera. After a long at bat, Herrera grounded out to first, with the toss to Springs covering barely beating Herrera.

Randy drew a walk leading off the bottom of the seventh. After a Lowe strikeout, Arozarena swiped second on the first pitch to Choi. Choi then struck out, which ended the day for Brogdon as Gerardi called on Bradley to face Meadows,

Meadows walked on five pitches, bringing up Wendle. Joey ripped a line drive single to right. With Randy bearing down on home, Miller’s throw home sailed very wide, halfway between home and third. The bad throw enabled Meadows to also score as there was another bad throw home. However, in all the chaos, Wendle got hung up between second and third, ending the inning.

6-2 Rays!

Pete Fairbanks took over for the eighth, and worked a clean frame.

Diego Castillo got the ninth, and it was far more interesting than need be. A single, a groundout, and a walk put two on for pinch hitter Matt Joyce. Diego struck him out on a 2-2 back foot slider. Knapp followed, and on a 1-2 count singled through the open left side of the infield to load the bases for Herrera. Castillo again worked ahead 1-2. Herrera then drove one deep to left center, which KK tracked down for the final out.

Rays win!

The Rays travel to New York to start a four game set against the Yankees. Rich Hill takes on James Taillon tomorrow, with game time at 1:05 PM.