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Rays 8, Cubs 2: Rained-shortened, series-clinching W!

With the rain falling on a cold Chicago night, the Rays took an early lead and didn’t look back, winning the series against the Cubs.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago Cubs Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

With two games in the series down, the Rays look to win the series against the Cubs after losing one and winning one. Drew Rasmussen is on the mound for the Rays against Cubs starter Marcus Stroman.

With rain expected during the night, the game’s start time was moved up to make sure this game gets in.

Brandon Lowe started this game off with a leadoff walk, moving up to second after Wander Franco grounded out. Randy Arozarena doubled to left, plating Lowe and putting the Rays up early.

Randy made his own magic happen when he tried stealing third base, resulting in a throwing error by the Cubs catcher and allowing Arozarena to score, making it 2-0 Rays.

Ji-Man Choi walked, and after Josh Lowe struck out, Francisco Mejia stepped up to the plate. On a 1-0 count, Mejia swung at a low pitch and sent it over the left-center field wall, extending the lead to 4-0. Kevin Kiermaier popped out to end the inning.

Rasmussen took the mound for the bottom of the first inning, and despite allowing a hit and a runner reaching via an error, he worked a scoreless inning which included a strikeout of Seiya Suzuki.

The Rays offense was still hungry in the second inning, with Taylor Walls hitting a leadoff single and moving up to second on a Brandon Lowe groundout. Wander Franco doubled to plate Walls and make it 5-0 Rays. In the bottom of the second, Rasmussen walked two batters and threw 26 pitches (49 after two innings), but once again allowed no runners to reach home.

The third inning was the first time the Rays didn’t score, although they came close after Josh Lowe doubled and reached third base on a groundout.

Rasmussen struck out Suzuki for a second time in the bottom of the third, but allowed back-to-back singles after that, bringing Frank Schwindel up. Schwindel doubled, scoring one run to trim the lead down to 5-1. Another run scored on a sacrifice groundout, but Rasmussen struck out Jason Heyward to end the inning.

The top of the fourth was a quiet inning for the offense, while Jalen Beeks entered the game in the bottom of the fourth, working a 1-2-3 inning on only eight pitches. Rasmussen’s day was done after three acceptable innings of work. He allowed two runs on four hits, walked two but struck out four, throwing 79 pitches.

With four innings in the books, only one more was needed to make this an official game. The Rays offense wanted to make sure the game would be out of reach by the time it would potentially be called.

Randy Arozarena reached on a throwing error and moved up to second to lead the inning off. Josh Lowe plated him with a one-out triple, and Francisco Mejia scored Lowe with a double, ending Marcus Stroman’s day. Daniel Norris was brought in to relieve Stroman, but he made sure to allow one more run against Stroman’s line after Kevin Kiermaier hit an RBI double, making it 8-2. Taylor Walls and Brett Phillips both struck out to end the inning.

Beeks stayed in for the bottom of the fifth, allowing a leadoff walk to Suzuki. Suzuki would be stranded at first, however, after Beeks struck out Villar and Happ and got Schwindel to line out, ending the inning and making the game official.

With the rain still falling, this game continued into the sixth inning, Daniel Norris still on the mound for the Cubs. Norris worked a 1-2-3 inning, moving this one to the bottom-half of the sixth. Or, actually, halting this game between innings, as the tarp was brought out with the rain not letting up.

Exactly one hour later, the game was called. Rays win!

The offense did exactly what they needed to do with rain on the way, and they take the series against the Cubs to break past .500, becoming 7-6. The Rays head home after an off-day on Thursday, welcoming the Red Sox to Tropicana Field beginning Friday night. Corey Kluber will start for the Rays against a Red Sox pitcher TBD, first pitch scheduled for 7:10 pm.