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Rays 5, Tigers 2: One step closer to their magic number

Didn’t we just play these guys?

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well hello, Detroit, we meet again. Hopefully, this series will yield slightly better results, as the Rays are hoping to hit that magic clinch number sooner rather than later, and while Tigers fans are surely enjoying non-terrible baseball, the Rays kind of have a division to clinch.

Louis Head started things off for the Rays but don’t get too attached, he’s not staying around long. After a 1-2-3 inning, Head’s night was done. The Rays were also quick on the draw in terms of scoring in the bottom of the inning, as Yandy Diaz quickly hit a leadoff home run to put Tampa Bay on the board as quickly as humanly possible. Like, first pitch. Margot then drew a walk, and Cruz joined him on the basepaths after being hit by a pitch (this would cause him to leave the game, but it was confirmed as only a right forearm contusion). A Garneau passed ball then allowed both men to advance a base. Arozarena hit a sac fly to score Margot, and the Rays had two runs on the board.

With Enns on to pitch in the second, he allowed a two-out single to Niko Goodrum, who was then picked off attempting to steal second to end the inning. The Rays then went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.

Dustin Garneau drew a leadoff walk to start the third, and was then erased in a fielder’s choice off the bat of Hill. Hill was then caught stealing to end the inning. Diaz led off the bottom of the inning with a single, but the Rays were unable to convert it to a run.

Similarly in the top of the fourth, Robbie Grossman singled to lead things off, but the Tigers couldn’t make it into anything run-worthy. On the Rays side of the inning, Wendle reached on a bunt single, but nothing else came of the inning.

The Tigers were finally able to make something happen in the fifth, as Goodrum hit a one-out solo home run. Unfortunately for them, the Rays like to maintain their lead, and in the bottom of the inning Kiermaier singled to lead things off, then advanced to second on a groundout from Diaz. Margot then reached on an infield single (which was actually more of Schoop bobbling the ball at first, but we’ll call it a single) and Kiermaier was able to get all the way home on the mistake, putting the Rays back up 3-1.

In the top of the sixth Schoop got a two-out walk, but no runs scored, and then things went a little batty in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Wendle drew a walk. Then Zunino blasted a two-run homer. Then, in order: Kiermaier walked, Diaz walked, and Margot walked, but even with the bases loaded the Rays did not get any additional runs.

Fairbanks was the Rays go-to man in the seventh, and he put the Tigers down in order. The Rays weren’t terribly productive in the bottom of the inning either with a Lowe single being the only action.

Conley was in for the Rays in the eighth and was very much “I’ll do it all myself” as he collected the first out of the inning tagging out Garneau on a groundout. Willi Castro then singled. Hill grounded into a fielder’s choice to put Castro in scoring position. He was quickly able to finish off the inning with no runs scored, though. In the bottom of the inning Kiermaier drew a one-out walk but the inning ended on a double play.

Chargois was the next man on for the Rays in the ninth inning and hopes of getting the Tigers out quickly were for naught, as Candelario hit a two-out solo home run. That would be it for the Tigers, though, as the Rays were able to close things out and hang on for the victory.

Final: Rays 5, Tigers 2