The Rays enjoyed some soggy meatloaf as they played through the raindrops and rallied to steal a Sunday matinee from the Braves by a score of 7-5. The win pulled the Rays temporarily within a game of the Red Sox for first place in the AL East, pending tonight’s Red Sox-Yankees tilt.
Rich Hill got the start against old friend Drew Smyly.
Hill worked the front four, pitching his way in and out (and sometimes not out) of trouble. He gave up six hits, walked two, and struck out four. A lot of the hits were well placed soft contact.
In the bottom of the first, Joc Pederson led off with a walk. A soft bunt lineout and a force play by Freeman set it up for Ozzie Albies, who doubled off the wall in center, scoring Freeman. 1-0 Braves.
In the bottom of the fourth, Austin Riley led off with a walk. After an Arcia forceout, Vogt singled and Heredia doubled, making it a 2-0 game with runners on second and third. Drew Smyly then singled on an soft grounder to second when no one covered the bag, loading the bases. Rich Hill then booted Pederson’s comebacker and was only able to get the out at first. 3-0 Braves.
Meanwhile, Smyly carried a no hitter into the fifth. It was broken up on a soft check swing grounder from Brandon Lowe. A Zunino grounder up the third base line put runners on second and third. After a Wendle pop out, Lowe scored on a wild pitch. KK then walked, and pinch hitter Austin Meadows hit a sac fly to right.
With one out in the sixth, Wander Franco — who had looked overmatched all game long — hit a hanging curve out to center.
Kittredge came on to work the fifth for the Rays and pitched a scoreless frame. He stayed on for the sixth, giving up a Vogt single. With one out, Cash called on Jeffrey Springs, who gave up a two out double to Pederson, scoring Vogt. 4-3 Braves.
In the seventh inning against A.J. Minter, Wendle led off with a single to center. KK then hooked a double into the right field corner, scoring Wendle. 4-4 game.
The Rays manufactured the go ahead run. With Meadows at the plate, Kiermaier swiped third on the 2-2 pitch. Meadows then lifted a fly to medium centerfield, bringing in KK with the always sexy sac fly.
Still in the seventh, pinch hitter Fernando Mejia lined a double into right against Luke Jackson. Yandy Diaz then turned around a 1-0 fastball and deposited it over the wall in center.
Collin McHugh got the bottom of the seventh and was touched for an unearned run. Freeman reached on an error and Riley reached on an olé one out single past Diaz to set the table. Rays legend Stephen Vogt followed with a single to center, scoring Freeman. 7-5 Rays.
The bullpoen locked it down from there. McHugh came back out for the eighth and set down the side in order. Pete Fairbanks got the call for the ninth and worked a scoreless frame, pitching around an Ozzie Albies single.
The Rays head back home to host the Orioles on Monday. Game time is at 7:10PM